Sunderland Echo - - Front page - By Pe­tra Sil­fver­ski­old pe­tra.sil­fver­ski­ Twit­ter: @pe­trasil­fver

A woman has been fined af­ter she was found smok­ing while driv­ing a car in which a five-year-old child was trav­el­ling.

Chelsea Con­nolly was told by a judge that she did not prop­erly care for the young­ster, who was found un­re­strained in the back of the ve­hi­cle.

Dis­trict Judge Roger Elsey told the 26-year-old that she was “in need of ed­u­ca­tion” af­ter she was caught smok­ing while the child slept in the back seat with­out a booster seat or seat­belt.

Smok­ing in a car, or other ve­hi­cle, with any­one un­der the age of 18 present was made il­le­gal in Eng­land and Wales in Oc­to­ber 2015.

Prose­cu­tor Re­becca Lav­er­ick told Sun­der­land Mag­is­trates’ Court: “The of­fi­cer sees Ms Con­nolly go­ing through a red light near Sains­bury’s car park in Monkwear­mouth.

“He no­tices that she is smok­ing and stops the ve- hi­cle. There is a child, aged five, un­re­strained in the back seat, asleep.

“There is no booster seat present and the child is not wear­ing a seat­belt.

“The de­fen­dant told the of­fi­cer that she was not go­ing through a red light and that she thought it was on am­ber.

“The footage was not clear so she was not sum­moned for that of­fence.”

Con­nolly, of Sec­ond Av­enue, Ch­ester-le-Street, pleaded guilty to smok­ing in a ve­hi­cle in which a child was present and driv­ing with a child pas­sen­ger aged be­tween three and 13 years in the rear seat, who was not wear­ing a seat­belt.

Gerry Arm­strong, de­fend­ing, said: “Had it not been for the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of the red light she would not be here.

“Had it been just these of­fences she would have got a fixed penalty.

“She had been tak­ing a friend, who was in the front pas­sen­ger seat, home – she lives very close to here – when she saw a for­mer boyfriend in the street.

“She cir­cled the street, but thought it best to drive out of the street and away.

“She went into Sain­bury’s and when she sat at the lights she had a cou­ple of puffs on a cig­a­rette.

“Whether the win­dow was open or not, she should not be smok­ing if there is a young child in the car.”

Dis­trict Judge Roger Elsey said: “Smok­ing around your child shows that you do not prop­erly care for the child and that you are in need of ed­u­ca­tion.

“How­ever, say­ing that, par­lia­ment im­poses that, all I can do is im­pose a fine.

“I doubt that will change your be­hav­iour or give any en­light­en­ment, but that is all I can do.”

Con­nolly was fined £120 and was told to pay a £30 sur­charge and £50 costs.

“You do not prop­erly care for the child and need ed­u­ca­tion” JUDGE ELSEY

It is il­le­gal since Oc­to­ber 2015 to smoke in a car or other ve­hi­cle with any­one un­der the age of 18 present.

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