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Council changes policy after waste bag fraud

A local authority in Greater Manchester is to start marking its biodegradable food waste bags with its logo after a binman was convicted of a reselling fraud.

Salford City Council said it would introduce the measure after Paul Strickland was sentenced for stealing 8,000 rolls of bags – worth £5,500 – and marketing them for £7 each online.

This week Manchester Crown Court heard that Strickland, aged 30, of Worsley, had made around £11,000 from the sale of the bags, which he should have been distributing to households for free.

He was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge. Strickland is expected to face a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing aimed at recovering his profits next year.

Following the sentencing, Salford said Strickland had worked for the authority from August 2008 until earlier this year when he resigned. 

It said every refuse collection vehicle had a supply of rolls of bags on-board to distribute as residents needed them, and that the authority was one of only a few councils across the country to supply the bags for free to maximise recycling.

In a statement it said: “To prevent this kind of fraud happening again, we will now be marking all bags with Salford City Council’s logo.” 

Gena Merrett, Salford’s assistant mayor for housing and environment, praised the whistleblower who raised the alarm over Strickland’s illicit business. 

“They did absolutely the right thing by coming forward and enabling us to uncover the fraud and take immediate action. Strickland breached the trust placed in him and has rightly been punished for that,” she said.

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