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Ealing and Northfield

£50 litter bin fine – who is fibbing?

Andrew Tierney made it onto the front page of the Sun this morning claiming to have been fined £50 for simply taking some junk mail off his postman and chucking it in a litter bin. The council concerned, Hinckley and Bosworth, fielded their chief exec on the Today programme to accuse Tierney of putting all his household waste in the litter bin of which the junk mail was only an incidental part.

There are two possible explanations, both of which I can believe:

  • Tierney is a liar who uses the street litter bins instead of keeping a refuse bin on his property
  • the council is lazy about accusing people of misdemeanours on the basis of finding addressed mail in their litter bins without ensuring that it is a real case of dumping – it cannot be hard to distinguish a carrier bag full of household waste stuffed into a litter bin rather than a couple of letters chucked in on the way to work.

I don’t know who to believe but I guess that the papers will have more fun with this tomorrow and maybe the truth will come out.

In Ealing, especially along South Ealing Road towards the tube station, I have often seen people using the litter bins for their own convenience as they leave their homes to go to work. It is hard enough to get kids to use litter bins without householders who are too selfish or lazy to maintain their own refuse bins filling them up with carrier bags stuffed with household waste. Councils are right to go after these people. But, as with any enforcement activity, it is not acceptable for councils to merely beat up the law abiding citizen with penalty notices on the basis of their address turning up in a litter bin. There needs to be proper evidence of wrongdoing otherwise it is just another dumb tax.