Addison Lee has been ordered to remove 3,000 Adbins ashtrays which were installed outside pubs and restaurants across central London without advertising consent.
Westminster council has won a court order against Europe’s biggest minicab firm, meaning that it must remove the £50 bins within 14 days or face contempt of court proceedings.
Last year, the Tory-run authority prosecuted Addison Lee and Adbins for displaying unauthorised adverts on the bins in the Marylebone conservation area, and had the ruling upheld at appeal in January this year.
On June 15, the council obtained a High Court injunction ordering both companies to remove the bins.
An Addison Lee spokesman said: “Since 2007, Addison Lee has provided around 16,000 cigarette bins at zero cost to thousands of London businesses. Westminster council has now obtained an injunction which means cigarette butts will be scattered across Westminster’s pavements.”
Robert Davis, the council’s deputy leader, said: “This injunction underlines the fact that no commercial organisation can decide for themselves where and when they are entitled to advertise without consent.
“Our guidelines exist to prevent Westminster being overrun with excessive adverts. Nobody disputes the general value of bins — but Addison Lee and Adbins put out thousands of bins without permission, which amount to a form of litter in their own right.”
Addison Lee owner John Griffin has accused the council of acting perversely by seeking to remove the bins while fining smokers for dropping butts.
Addison Lee is awaiting the outcome of a judicial review into its attempt to make TfL let minicabs use bus lanes.
Source: London Evening Standard