The simple and seemingly uninteresting act of placing junk mail into a street bin has caused a huge drama picked up by national television, radio and newspapers.
Andrew Tierney, 24, from Hinckley in Leicestershire had no idea anything more would come of his actions when the postman handed him two pieces of junk mail as he left his house.
Crumpling them up and placing them into a litter bin attached to a lamppost, he thought nothing more of the act until he was handed a £50 fine from council officers who had tracked him down using the address on the envelopes.
He said: “I could have easily chucked those letters on the ground, but I put them in the bin. What has happened is a joke, the council is barmy. I never thought you could get a fine for putting rubbish in a bin- that’s what they are there for.”
The council initially claimed that he had dumped a bag of rubbish, including food, and not just junk mail, but rescinded the fine when details of the incident became clearer.
A Hinckley and Bosworth Borough council spokesman said: “A fixed penalty notice is served to people who we believe have committed an offence. Anyone who feels they have been issued with a penalty unfairly can appeal, and we will consider each case based on the evidence before us.
“Our litter bins are there to keep streets tidy, as they enable the public to deposit small amounts of litter. They are not provided for household waste.”
Councillors said the incident also shows that residents could be better informed on where to dump their waste and are possibly not as aware of the rules as they should be.
The spokesman added: “We need to give them better information and we are arranging that now.”