A COUNCIL has not handed out a single fine over the smoking ban since it came into force almost seven years ago.

Highland Council has not issued such a penalty since the ban was introduced in 2006, it was claimed.

SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell voiced concerns about discrepancies in the way fines are issued.

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Raising the issue with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, Mr Maxwell asked: "Is the Cabinet Secretary aware that, since 2006, Highland Council has never issued a fine in connection with the smoking ban?

"But Dundee Council has issued 718 fines in the six years."

Mr MacAskill did not dispute the figures but said it was important to see them in context.