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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 13:27 GMT
'Bin police' cost council 117K
Recycling bin
Bins are subjected to spot checks by 'recycling advisors'
A council has defended its decision to spend 1% of its annual budget on household "bin police".

Test Valley Borough Council, in Hampshire, has spent 117,500 employing eight "recycling advisors" who check residents put waste in the correct bin.

It follows the council's introduction of fortnightly recycling collections.

But the amount has been labelled as "exorbitant" by one councillor who found that his bin had been subjected to a spot check.

Councillor Rod Bailey found a yellow sticker on his bin telling him that an incorrect item had been placed in it.

Surely saving the planet is incentive enough
Council leader Ian Carr

"They were going door-to-door checking people's bins," said the Liberal Democrat councillor.

"I'm all for recycling but not for fining people. It was a type of bin police."

"I'm sure this scheme has cost us more money than it should have. It's exorbitant."

Warning stickers

The council - whose annual budget totals 11.6m - employed eight people to enforce the new fortnightly collection where waste is collected one week and recyclables the next.

All the temporary posts will expire by March.

People caught placing a wrong item in a bin will find a yellow warning sticker on it.

Repeat offenders are issued with red stickers and the bin is not emptied.

Conservative councillor Ian Carr, the council leader, said: "I think they've done a brilliant job."

"I think we'd have had a lot more issues if they had not been around.

"We do have the ability to fine people (up to a maximum of 1,000) but we don't think that's the way forward.

"Surely saving the planet is incentive enough."

A council spokeswoman said the cost was included in the initial implementation budget and no fines had been issued.

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