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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 15:42 GMT
Council makes 'bin fine' U-turn
A council that threatened to fine a man for dropping junk mail into a street bin has changed its mind.

Hinckley and Bosworth Council said it had investigated the case and decided to drop the 50 fine because of "conflicting evidence".

Andy Tierney, 24, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, dumped the unwanted mail on his way to work.

Council officers tracked him down using the addresses on the envelopes and issued him with a fixed penalty notice.

'Beggars imagination'

The council initially claimed Mr Tierney had actually dumped a bag of rubbish, including food, and not just junk mail.

The proposed fine was described as "ridiculous" by Keith Lynch, who is leader of the Liberal Democrats on Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.

"If the council officials, instead of imposing the rules strictly, had written to the gentleman and said, look here you mustn't do this, that would have been quite sufficient," he said.

It does feel a bit disproportionate to me and indeed... I thought we were being encouraged to drop litter in litter baskets
Lord Falconer, Lord Chancellor
"And to fine him 50, well, all I can say is, quite frankly, it beggars the imagination".

The council said he was being fined because he dumped "domestic refuse" into a street litter bin.

Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, told the BBC that the punishment seemed harsh.

"It does feel a bit disproportionate to me and indeed... I thought we were being encouraged to drop litter in litter baskets, but of course I don't know the facts, and no doubt the facts may present a different light."

Council chief executive Steve Atkinson said: "Perhaps Hinckley's residents could be better informed on where to dump their waste.

"We also need to learn from it and that maybe the public are not as aware of the rules on where rubbish should be put as they should be.

"We need to give them better information and we are arranging that now."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
A council representative explains the fine



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