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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 13:27 GMT
Litterbug ordered to sweep street
Gary Stevenson
Gary Stevenson is the first person to opt to work as a street cleaner
A man who threw chip wrappers out of his car window is spending the day sweeping the streets as punishment.

Gary Stevenson, 48, from Delph, Oldham, Greater Manchester, was caught dropping the wrapper by a litter enforcement officer in Derker in December.

Oldham Council said he could either pay an 80 fine or spend a day cleaning up Oldham town centre.

Mr Stevenson, the first person to opt to work rather than pay, said he was "daft" to drop the wrapper.

The father-of-two was working as a street cleaner on Wednesday as part of the "community reparation" scheme.

Mr Stevenson, who is an electronics engineer, said he did not normally drop litter.

"I normally take sandwiches, but I didn't that day, I went to the chippy and I was daft," he said.

"I drove the car back to work and about an hour later somebody came into the office and said, I want a word with you, and he gave me a ticket."

Dog fouling

Despite having to don a high-vis jacket, he said he was in support of the scheme.

"I was wrong, I hold my hand up, and I'm trying to do the right thing now and encourage other people not to drop litter.

"It's better for me and it's better for the environment as well because I'm helping to clean up other people's mess."

Oldham Council is the first in Greater Manchester to introduce the reparation scheme, which was brought in in November.

It also applies to people who have sprayed graffiti or allowed their dogs to foul the streets.

John Rice, from the council, said: "Time and time again surveys show that littering in all its forms is one of the main areas of concern with local residents.

"The scheme is an excellent way for people to discharge their penalty by keeping the borough tidy, and I would hope it will give them an idea of the amount of time and resources the council has to spend dealing with litter."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Gary Stevenson chose punishment over a fine



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