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Spot fine of £80 for littering in a recycling point


craigieboy
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Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

 

 

Here is draft complaint I have typed up for being fined yesterday for littering inside my local recycling point.

 

On Sunday 12th October I attempted to use the recycling centre at ****.

I was looking to recycle some glass bottles and a small bag of clothes.

 

I noticed 2 men sitting in a private car as I approached the centre.

 

I successfully recycled my glass bottles and attempted to open the hatch to the clothes recycling container in order to put my old clothes in.

The container was full and I could barely open the hatch half an inch, which of course meant I could not get my old clothes in.

 

 

I've used this clothes container in the past and have always found it difficult to open as it's invariably quite full.

I've always in past however, managed to get old clothes in even by opening the hatch as far as I can

and pushing the existing bags with a stick, and putting my old clothes in one item at a time.

 

On this occasion it was apparent I'd be unable to get anything into the container.

 

I noticed that immediately adjacent to the container there was a pile of black bags

where it would appear others have had similar difficulty and have left their bags.

 

 

This, I stress is within the facility and immediately adjacent to the clothes container.

On this occasion I put my bag neatly on top of the pile of bags already there.

 

As I walked away the 2 men approached me, putting their lanyards and name tags over their heads.

 

I was told I was being fined for littering. If it had been 2 or more bags, it'd have been fly tipping.

 

I explained that I had attempted (as they could see plainly from where they were parked)

to recycle my old clothes responsibly and it was through no fault of mine, that the facilities were full.

 

 

I was advised that this particular clothes recycler was provided by a charity and that the council were not responsible for it.

I should have taken my clothes back home.

 

 

I asked if there was another recycling centre nearby which I could use but the officials did not know.

I told them there were already bags there and I merely put my own bag neatly on top of what was there.

They were not interested.

 

I have no intention of paying the fine for the following reasons :

 

1. The officers witnessed me attempting to make use of the recycling facilities and through no fault of my own being unable to do so.

2. Albeit, officially littering, the fact I left my recycling material within the centre and immediately adjacent to the clothes recycling container,

neatly with the rest of the bags, indicates I did not indiscriminately littler but made a more than adequate attempt to recycle.

 

3. The reasoning that because the clothes recycling container is provided by a charity,

negates the councils responsibility to offer adequate recycling resources,

I feel is unfair. No reasonable person would make such a distinction,

and the fact it's on council property would lead anyone to think it's under the council's control.

I'm sure there is legal notices on the container indicating it's from a 3rd party and outwith the control of the council,

but this places an unfair burden on good citizens merely trying to do their civic best.

 

4. I feel the council have let me down as a responsible recycler,

in not ensuring this charity regularly empty this recycling container.

 

5. I feel that unless the requirement of 2 council officials to sit at a recycling centre is a revenue generating exercise,

advising me on having to remove any sealed bags from within the recycling centre if I'm unable to put the bag inside the container,

advising me of alternative recycling centres in the area,

and that the clothes recycler is not the responsibility of the council

and that a fine could be given, would have been a more civic exercise to inform,

advise and educate the public who are already trying to take recycling responsibly.

 

They also did not ask me to remove my bag either and were happy for it to stay on the pile.

 

thanks...

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Did you sign anything?

 

Did you agree to anything, take any paperwork off them, give them your details etc etc?

 

I wouldn't write anything to them, least of all the above, they have no care for the circumstances, they just want your money!

 

And for anyone else who finds themselves in the same position, the hi viz, lanyard wearing, ''enforcement officers'' are powerless to do anything, you should NOT give them any of your personal details, you CANNOT be arrested, you CANNOT be jailed, if they threaten calling the police laugh at them and offer to ring them with your phone.

 

If they are genuinely from the council, then there will be a complaints process you can use.

Definitely DO NOT pay this invoice, until you have shown the council the error of their ways and exhausted their complaints procedure, another revenue con...

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Thanks for that. They were official council and issued me with paperwork, similar to a parking/speeding ticket. Numerous methods to pay etc. Oddly it is for 80 quid whereas web site says 50.

 

 

I signed nothing, merely gave them my name and address which is on the form they handed to me. I wish I'd just have walked away from them or asked them their favourite Disney character and gave that as my name.

 

 

They said have 14 days to pay and if don't, it goes to the procurator fiscal (Scotland) and he decides to prosecute or not which they are no doubt hoping people just pay it. I'll be onto my local rag to in order to highlight the irony of being fined for littering inside a recycling centre. It backs onto a railway and if I'd flung the bag over the fence or had not tried for a few minutes to get the hatch open and merely dropped the bag on the ground, I could understand. I cant imagine the PF being remotely interested in this tho who knows.

 

 

And because there were behind me in car I don't know if they took photographs. Otherwise, another avenue is to just say it wasn't me, someone must have known my dob, name and address.

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There must be an appeals process on the scrap bit of paper they handed you with this extortion fee on?

 

IMO I would simply use their appeals process, and let your local MP politicians aware also, this is nothing more than

these two clowns justifying their wages, and the council profiteering off the public, scandalous.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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I agree, no chance in hell I'm paying that, especially when I'd tried my best to recycle responsibly. From now on it goes in the green bin.

 

 

My councillor, MP and local rag will be informed too.

 

 

 

There is an online complaints form which will be getting completed today.

 

 

thanks again for your thoughts ...

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They must of been sat waiting for sometime, you could send them an FOI to find out if they had fined anybody else at that location in the last week or so, somebody left bags of clothes before you.

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Is this something to do with disposing of things that should not have ended up in the recycling centre and council workers taking things too far. Not asking you to remove the said item would lead me to believe they require as evidence. Should have a word with council and clarify what's going on.

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Hi Kabukiman,

 

No. this was clothes for which there is a recycling containter which was full.

 

 

I left my bag tidily beside it on top of other bags.

 

 

When told 'officials' they said that container was provided by charity and is not responsibility of the council (even on council recycling premises).

They didn't go near bag at all, and there was nothing in it, that could identify me,

just some of g/fs old clothes she was wanting flung out.

 

 

No hint of advice, educate and inform, watched me try to get the container open, fail, and put the bag neatly with others.

Then approached me to fine me.

 

 

Irony of being fined inside a recycling area for littering is not lost on me.

I have a friend who's a solicitor who's drafted a letter based on my rant,

which I've put on their online complaints website and await their update.

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I made the assumption the officials were sent there to stop people dumping items not meant for the centre and the workers took it upon themselves to fine anyone not placing in appropriate location, hence speaking with council concerned.

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Also check if the recycle centre has cctv and if it does ask for a copy of the footage

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oddly, my stepson was walking the dog yesterday and walked past the recycling centre and there were 2 policemen in a police car in the same spot. I don't know if he was mistaken or if was coincidence but if they are using policemen, it's bonkers ...

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Not saying this incident is right or wrong but, there will, probably, be a notice somewhere to say items left outside, skips, containers, recycling units etc. will be classed as litter and penalties enforced accordingly.

 

You may not like it but the 'officials' don't make the policy, that is down to the councillors 'You' elected. They, the 'Official's' just try to enforce, and get regular and sustained personal abuse for doing it.

 

H

44 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

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There was no abuse from me. And because the word enforcement is in their job title, you'd expect some common sense to be applied. I'm not condoning abuse but I've met some conscientious public officials and even traffic wardens, who have applied some common sense in their dealings, and some of the abuse, in some instances, is down to frustrations of individuals who have tried to do the right thing, but some common sense advice may have been useful and have created a positive interaction. And a reasonable man would vote councillors to stop fly tipping or indiscriminate littering in the street, not people trying to dispose of waste but unable to use the facilities through no fault of their own and assuming that putting the bag next to other bags already there is fine. A word to the wise would have sorted this for me.

 

 

I consider it a form of entrapment when you provide a resource to be used by responsible citizens, apply a punishment if they don't use it, and when they can't use it, apply the punishment to the letter of the law.

 

 

In these times of informing, educating and advising, given that I attempted and was unable to use the resource after trying, and leaving my bag of clothes neatly on the pile, I feel I did enough and if sanctions were required, advice would have been sufficient. And the reason that the particular recycling container was provided by a charity, is a technical nonsense, when it was on council property alongside council recycling containers. If I'd chucked the bag over the fence onto adjacent railway property I could understand it.

 

 

No doubt there will be signs but the officers time would have been better spent advising the council to contact the charity to empty their recycling container as responsible recyclers were unable to take advantage of the facilities. Either that or remove the textile recycling container.

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All it means to me now is everything will go in my green bin, I will not use the recycling centre in case I inadvertently break a rule and get fined. I'm sure the council will think that worked out fine.

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You should ask your council what the "compelling reason" is for the officals not being in uniform and how many fixed penalties have been issued by (a) the council (b) that department and © those individuals and (d) at that site as a FOI request.

only an authorised officer may issue you a penalty so you shopuld also ask which of the two was the "authorised officer"

Also ask the see a copy of the policy regarding the issuing of fixed penalty notices and go through it carefully as you will probably find that the action you suffered from is not prescribed but part of a catch-all "policy".

you can demand to see a copy of the notebook containg the details taken at the time. They sure as hell will have to make this available as evidence to court if you dont pay up so dont accept a refusal for "data protection" reasons.

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thanks ericb. I have complained via online form to council and have emailed my councillor also. I got an email from enforcement coordinator that both officers on a rest day (no sniggering at the back) but they will reply by end of week. I'll keep my powder dry and if don't get a satisfactory answer from them by end of week, I'll request all of the above. For a FOI request, can I request it from the coordinator I'm in touch with if don't get satisfaction or do councils typically have a FOI dept where you request this.

 

 

When they got out of the car they put on their jackets which were just black waterproof jackets with some council stuff on the back, they also put on lanyards with passes. Apologies if confusion caused. One wrote out the form and got the other one to check it. So I guess they were official looking.

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Took a wander over to the recycling place yesterday. It's effectively a car park of a school that has been knocked down. As you enter the car park there is a council sign saying it's a council car park, usual stuff about not staying in it over night, caravans / tents prohibited. It does mention 'no littering' which is fairly standard I'd imagine in a plain old car park. When you walk further into the car park to the area where the recycling containers are kept, there is another 'recycling point sign' which makes no mention whatsoever of littering or any instruction rules for putting stuff into containers. Oddly and despite being almost full for a few months, the textile recycling container has been emptied. There is stencil on it from a cancer charity and at bottom of container it says 'if full or damaged, please call xxxxxxxx'. The issue I now have with this is the 2nd half of the number has been scratched out so you'd be unable to do so. Also it's on council property, so as above, the arrangement for this containers placement and emptying should not be a burden on the individual citizen. Also given the signage, when is it a car park and when is it a recycling point. There is no clear distinction. Also there was usual lot of cooker hobs, cushions et al next to the various containers.

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It might be worth taking a few photographs of signage and the recycling area.

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:thumb: Well done that man :)

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Got this back from council. No surprise.

 

 

I have now had the opportunity to speak to the Community Safety Officers who issued the fixed penalty notice and I am satisfied that it was issued in accordance with the legislation.

The fixed penalty notice that you were issued with merely is an offer to you to discharge any liability to conviction for that offence by paying the fixed penalty. The legislation, Environmental Protection Act 1990, does not offer any facility for appeals to be made to the Council. Should your decision be not to take up that offer the procedure is for the Council to report the circumstances to the Procurator Fiscal at Paisley for consideration. It will then be up to the Procurator Fiscal to determine whether or not any further proceedings have to be taken.

With regard to the five points that you raised at the end of your email and due to legal limitation I am only in the positions to generalise. I must specify these answers are in relation to the circumstances that you describe and not this individual incident.

1

Was the charity contacted by the Council, and if so, at what time and with what effect.

The charities monitor usage of each individual container. These are emptied by them as part of a weekly schedule. Should their usage be greater this would be reviewed.

2

What is the arrangement between the Council and the charity in relation to frequency of collection?

3

Was the charity issued with a fine?

The offence is committed by the person who throws down, drops or otherwise deposits the litter in any place to which this section applies and leaves it. (Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 87)

4

Were the other users of the container issued with a fine?

Fixed Penalty notices have been issued throughout the authority.

5

For how many hours did these officers sit and watch this site and how much income for the council /community did it generate?

The Community Safety Officers are authorised by the Council to enforce the legislation in relation to Environmental issues. They patrol throughout the authority visiting areas of complaint and known hotspots with the aim of prevention offences from being committed and detecting offenders.

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