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An Open Council member was recently issued with a fixed penalty notice fine of £50 by Newcastle City Council for putting the bins out wrong. He describes the case is as follows:

"After my wheelie bin was stolen I had been putting my bins out just on the floor in the back alley and then suddenly there's a knock at the door and two blokes from Neighbourhood Services are writing out a £50 fine for littering saying that it's against the law to place bin bags onto the ground in any public place. I almost lost it. On top of that they said they had bin through my rubbish and found some private letters of mine with my name and address on. I was furious! How the hell am I getting a £50 fine just for putting my bins out and why are council staff going through my rubbish?

I protested but they weren't having any of it, when I eventually got a reply from the Civic Centre they just came out with rubbish, saying stuff like 'littering has been an offence since the 1800's so there is no excuse' and when I asked who the hell has got my private letters they just said 'the paper work is dealt with in accordance with the data protection act.'

After loads of letters I went to citizens advice by the Grainger Market but they said if it went to court I'd lose so I might as well pay, so I did. They said the council do it all the time to raise money but the ridiculous thing is, after I paid I asked for my private letters back and they weren't even mine they were my girlfriends!"

Click to see the fixed penalty notice report here.

Fixed Penalty Notice Report