Lorry driver fined £400 over fly-tipping – despite paying council £11 to remove fridge from home

A HGV driver has been hit with a whopping GBP400 fly-tipping fine – despite paying the council GBP11 to remove a fridge from his Stoke-on-Trent home. Now Paul Elsworth has won his fight to have the penalty overturned. Elsworth feels persecuted by the council after paying for this fridge to be removed, only to be fined GBP400 for it.

Council staff slapped the lorry driver with a GBP400 fly-tipping fine for leaving a fridge-freezer on the pavement outside his home. Elsworth was stunned to receive the penalty and says he got in touch with Stoke-on-Trent City Council more than 14 times as he tried to overturn the fine. And the fixed-penalty notice was only finally rescinded when StokeonTrentLive took up his case, reports our sister title in the Midlands.

Council tenant Paul says the fridge-freezer had been on the front garden of his Meir home ahead of his paid-for bulky waste collection when a damaged manhole meant he had to move it onto the pavement.

But council staff saw it there when they came to fix the manhole and imposed the fine. The repairs took a week to complete and Paul then moved the fridge-freezer back into his garden. The 34-year-old dad-of-one, of Farmwood Close, said: “We were digging the garden up at the front when the manhole fell through.

The council came out to fix that and that’s when I got the fine even though I’d paid GBP11 to have it collected. “I then went backwards and forwards with the council over email but they’re saying I’d done wrong and had to pay within 14 days.

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“There was a genuine reason for it being where it was. My wife has been in tears.

I was working away when it came through the door. It’s absolutely disgusting. “We try to improve things and we get persecuted for it.”

Lorry driver fined £400 over fly-tipping - despite paying council £11 to remove fridge from home

The fridge-freezer had been due for collection on October 1.

Council rules state it should not be put out for collection until 7pm the night before. In an email to Paul, city wide manager Dominic Gratty wrote: “The fixed-penalty notice has been issued correctly and in accordance with the city council’s strict zero-tolerance approach towards waste offences. “The city council clearly states that bulky waste should only be placed out for collection no sooner than 7pm the night before the allocated collection date.”

Lorry driver fined £400 over fly-tipping - despite paying council £11 to remove fridge from home

Paul was warned that he faced prosecution if he did not pay the fine.

But he did not pay up and it has finally been cancelled. Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for environment, said: “Our environmental crime team works to take action against those people who dump rubbish and waste that blights our city. “We’ve a zero-tolerance approach in such cases and will take action, and residents tell us that they want us to take this action.

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“We have a bulky waste collection service for people to correctly dispose of larger household items.

The instruction is that items must be left out no earlier than the night before collection. “In this case, Mr Elsworth booked a collection but his fridge-freezer was seen by one of our officers outside the property during regular visits and a fine was issued. “Mr Elsworth has since been in touch to explain the full circumstances about why the fridge-freezer was at the front of the property.

“We have reviewed the case, and have let Mr Elsworth know that the fine has been cancelled in this instance.”

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