SMOKING is already an expensive habit, but today it cost eight people more than £400 each.

A string of litter cases were brought before Haverfordwest Magistrates Court after people who were issued on-the-spot fines failed to pay up.

Since September last year people caught dropping litter in Pembrokeshire, including cigarette butts, could be given a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) by an enforcement agency.

These fines can cost individuals up to £150 depending on the offence, reduced to £75 if paid within 10 days.

The fines are issued by private firm District Enforcement on behalf of Pembrokeshire County Council.

Failing to pay an FPN can lead to the charge of littering being taken to court, where magistrates can issue fines of up to £2,500.

Eight cases of littering were brought to the court today (Thursday, January 17) after people failed to pay the fine.

The two defendants who turned up were charged a total of £435 each - £150 in fines, £255 in costs, and a £30 surcharge.

A further six people who failed to appear were charged £485 each - a £200 fine, £255 costs and a £30 surcharge - in their absence.

One case was not heard because the defendant had already paid the fine.

All the cases involved dropped cigarette ends.