A bus driver from Cumbria has been given a criminal record after he refused to pay a fine for his overflowing bin.
Gareth Corkhill, 26, from Whitehaven was convicted by magistrates for declining to pay a £110 on-the-spot fine for failure to close the lid on his bin, which was seven inches ajar. Copeland Council cautioned him last July before issuing the fine to him.
He was told that he had six months to pay or would be taken to court. By January he had still not paid and was sent to court. Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, Whitehaven magistrates convicted him for overfilling his bin with waste.
A spokesman for Copeland Council said: The council issued eight fines in total to residents. He was the only one who chose not to pay and was sent to court.
I think that the profile of this case raises the waste minimisation agenda and addresses the challenges that they need to meet.
The council has said that it will continue to crack down on the problem of overflowing bins, which cause problems for local residents and in the battle to reduce waste.
Corkhill told the Daily Mail that he was surprised at receiving a criminal record. The father of four said: I cant believe I now have a criminal record for simply putting rubbish in my bin. My only crime was to leave the lid slightly open. Now I might go for a job interview and be better than someone else but the employer will see that officially, I am a criminal.
Local Authority Advisory Committee chair Lee Marshall told MRW: Most local authorities have a side waste and no overflowing waste policy to encourage residents to recycle more and think about what they are purchasing in the first place. I think a fine is a legitimate way to do that as long as councils have clear education policies in place before they get to the stage of issuing fines.
Normally local authorities give out plenty of warning and ample opportunities to householders before fines are issued. They issue fines to change behaviour. We do not want to go out and fine people but everyone needs to take action on the waste they produce.