Tractor cigarette could cost farmer £1k
A FARMER who smoked in his tractor could face a fine of up to £1,000.
The tractor was parked by the side of a road in Co Antrim when a tobacco control officer told the farmer he was in breach of smoking regulations and issued him with a notice.
The tractor was deemed to be a commercial vehicle capable of "carrying more than one person".
People caught smoking in a work vehicle in the north can be handed a fixed penalty notice of £50 or a fine of up to £1,000 if prosecuted.
The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) said the owner of the tractor has been ordered by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, which issued the notice, to give the name of the person smoking - or face a fine.
The council said it is still investigating the case, but added that a tractor "is classed as a work vehicle".
Barclay Bell, deputy president of the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU), told the BBC the case was "bizarre".
"At one level this is a bizarre and even funny example of excessive red tape, defining a tractor as capable of carrying more than one person," he said.
He added: "Regardless of where you stand on smoking, in tough financial times it is justifiable to ask whether this is the best possible use of time and money?"