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Mr Corkhill’s troubles began last summer when the two enforcement officers arrived at his home. They cautioned him before issuing a £110 on-the-spot fine for failure to close the lid of his wheelie bin.
He was told he had six months to pay or he would be taken to court. By January he had still not paid and was sent a summons under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, which gave powers to town hall officials to hand out fines to rubbish rulebreakers.
Last week Whitehaven magistrates convicted him in his absence of “over-filling the receptacle used to dispose of waste” – a criminal offence.
They added £100 towards prosecution costs on top of the original fine, together with the £15 surcharge designed to help victims of violence.
Mr Corkhill, who takes home £900 a month, added: “I would have been better off throwing my rubbish across the front garden – at least then I would only have received an £80 fine for fly-tipping.
“It’s outrageous what they’ve done to me. We got a leaflet, like everyone else, nine months previously, explaining the new council policy which also made it a fineable offence for putting your bin out any earlier than 7am – a curfew for a bin.
“My wife and I put it in the recycling box and continued as normal. Then this happens. What can I do? If I didn’t pay they said that I could go to prison. They also threatened to clamp my car and send the bailiffs round.
“We recycle everything we can, including plastics, cardboard, tins, glass and paper. We have got a black box that is always full.”
A spokesman for Copeland Council said Mr Corkhill’s recollection of the distance his bin lid was open was wrong and it was “more like seven inches”. He added: “We will continue to crack down on the problem of overflowing bins.”
The Greenies never cease to amaze me with their insistence upon draconian measures that are even too over the top to parody. While I can understand the desire to create clean cites and towns the madness of limits on the amount of rubbish that a household can put out for collection are just stupid if there is no variation depending on the size of a household.
To all sensible people it is the responsibility of the local council to provide a service that meets the needs of it’s residents and it is not their right to try to punish people because those people have exceeded some benchmark dreamed up in a fog of Green religious vigour. Be warned though because it won’t be long before we have such nonsense here in OZ.