'I will go to prison if I have to': Wanstead pensioner fined for littering after leaving cardboard on recycling bin
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 August 2019
A Wanstead pensioner who was fined £150 for leaving a piece of cardboard on top of a paper bin while he was doing his recycling has said he will not pay it, even if it means he goes to prison.
Martin Foxall, 72, has been doing his recycling in Woodbine Place for the last four years, and he says he was told by a council worker a few years ago that he could leave cardboard on top of the bin to be collected if it didn't fit inside.
But a camera installed at the recycling site recently caught Martin leaving his cardboard there, and he was promptly sent a £150 fine in the post.
"Three years ago I was recycling my stuff and there was a council guy there and he said to stick it on top of the paper bin, so I did that and have been doing that for the last three or four years," Martin said.
"I was told I could put cardboard on top of the bin and they have now put up a camera.
"I always recycle and clean up any rubbish that has been left around the bin."
Martin said he should have received a warning, rather than a fine in the post.
"It's outrageous. I would have thought a polite warning was enough," he said. "This is a council bullying people into submission and trying to get money off people.
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"I was there recycling my rubbish, so surely you would just give me a warning?"
Martin appealed the fine, arguing that the signs say you can't leave rubbish "around" the bins, but do not say anything about leaving items on top of the bins.
But the council made the decision not to rescind the fine and have given Martin 28 days to pay.
"I will go to court and even if I have to go to prison, I will," he said. "I will not pay it. I will go to prison on a matter of principle.
"As a 72-year-old pensioner, a £150 fine represents nearly one week's pension.
"I am so angry. I am not a serial rubbish dumper.
"This is not the way to treat people. I am a law-abiding citizen."
A council spokesman said: "We know residents want to see action against littering so that our streets are kept clean and green.
"Taking action through measures such as penalty notices is a vital way to keep our neighbourhoods tidy and deters people from spoiling the borough.
"We advise anyone who feels they have been issued a fine incorrectly to contact us."