A man has been slapped with a £400 fine for dropping his folded cardboard box for recycling as instructed. Patrick Ward was fined by one of Torbay Council’s new private enforcement teams who wore a body camera but reportedly refused to answer any questions.
The 55-year-old shopkeeper told Devon Live his appeal had been dismissed and his case had now been taken up by local ward councilors who called the app “over the top”. Mr Ward said: “It was heartbreaking. This guy wearing a body camera came along.
“He just said, ‘That’s the fine’ while filming me. It was almost the worst. There’s nothing like someone filming you while fining you, but refusing to answer to one of your questions is at the same time.”
Mr Ward says he has hit a ‘rock wall’ since trying to find out why he was fined for leaving his box neatly folded, as instructed by council, at a when recycling collections were delayed by lack of staff. Since his appeal was dismissed, Mr Ward said he had repeatedly tried to get answers from council about why he had been fined.
“I’ve called Torbay council so many times trying to get questions answered. I tried to ask the guy with the body camera at the time but he just refused to answer any of them. my questions. I appealed but was told it was not a licensed trash disposal area,” he said.
Ward councilors Hazel Foster and Anne Brooks battle him. Cllr Foster said: “I think the enforcer was totally over the top. By then the bins in that area had gone three weeks without collection. Residents were trying to do their best but we l we all saw up and down the sidewalks – the area was generally messy but that wasn’t the fault of the residents. They were old for leaving it outside until it was collected. This resident did everything what he could to allow that.
Mr Ward contacted DevonLive in a last-ditch effort to have his fine overturned.
A spokesman for Torbay Council said: ‘The Fixed Penalty Notice issued to Mr Ward by National Enforcement Solutions (NES) was the result of a video sent in by a member of the public. Mr Ward was seen, via video, leaving commercial waste behind a local authority public bin on a communal plot, which is classed as a fly dump.
“Mr Ward admitted the breach and received a fixed penalty notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Although the waste was subsequently removed, the NES believe that without the person filming, the rubbish would have been left for Torbay Council to clean up like a fly spill case.
However, Mr. Ward disputes that he admitted this and that the cardboard box was not commercial waste. He said: “It was the box from a B&Q shower and it was hidden behind my private recycling bin. Also, I didn’t admit it – I denied it and that’s why I appealed. Whoever filmed me may have thought it was commercial waste, but it wasn’t.”
Torbay Council announced earlier this year that it had employed a private company to crack down on flying dumpsters. He said: “We are getting tough on litter and fly tipping and have appointed a new enforcement team to clean up the bay. The new team – from National Enforcement Solutions – has the power to issue warnings of Fixed penalties for anyone committing environmental crimes in Torbay Initially they will focus on litter control, dog control, fly tipping, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, failure to produce a transfer note waste and failure to present household or commercial trash cans in the right way at the right time.”
Councilor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said: “Environmental crime impacts the quality of our environment, reduces our pride and can have negative and economic impacts. People are tired of seeing things like fly tipping, litter and disorder in the streets and it sends the message that we will not tolerate this in Torbay any longer.
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