A Magistrate has accused a council of "overzealous officialdom" after it prosecuted a man for dropping cigarette ash.
Daniel Slaney was given a £40 fine for littering when an eagle-eyed Erewash Borough Council warden allegedly spotted him throwing away a cigarette butt.
However, magistrates extinguished the charge after Mr Slaney said he had only dropped the last burning embers of tobacco on to the floor, putting the butt in an empty packet.
Presiding magistrate Geoffrey Dennis said: "What we are dealing with here is the possibility of a piece of ash. We do not think that would constitute litter. This case would rather seem to be an example of overzealous officialdom."
Mr Slaney, who denied a charge of depositing litter, told the court that he disliked seeing cigarette ends in the street and always carried an empty packet to put his butts in. He said: "What I do when I have finished a cigarette is to take the filter and twist off the last bit of burning tobacco. If that constitutes litter, I admit it."
A spokesman for the council said it was disappointing that the actions of the council for bringing the prosecution for littering were described as overzealous.