A woman has been fined £400 by her council after she collected litter and put it in a bin outside her home.
Olivia Post did a bit of clearing up after foxes left rubbish strewn all over her road in Battle, West Sussex.
However, the next day a council official knocked on her door and fined her £400 on the spot.
It emerged animals had again pulled the rubbish out and council snoops had gone through it, found her address and accused her of fly tipping.
The row erupted last month when snow brought bin collections to a halt.
Despite explaining what had happened, the children’s entertainer was told the small council bin outside her home could only be used for ‘litter’ and not domestic waste.
She said: ‘Our rubbish is contained in a plastic bag, and we have foxes and seagulls here that rip the bags open.
‘We’re in this constant scenario of having litter and rubbish from all over the place being strewn across the car park.
‘So I went and picked the litter up, took the rubbish bag out of my kitchen – it took me quite some time to collect it all.’
By clearing up other people’s broken egg shells and litter from outside her flat, putting it in a council waste bag, and leaving it in a council bin, she had reportedly broken section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The council official who turned up at her door even read her ‘Miranda rights’ and told her he was recording the exchange.
Ms Post said: ‘The following day I get a knock on my door from this officer who managed to get up the icy pathway, which was quite astonishing to be honest, because we had no water, no shops open, we were literally cut off.
‘I was astonished because the one service we got was somebody issuing fines.
‘He asked me, “Do you recognise this bag?” Of course I said “yes” and he said “I’m giving you this fine” and cautioned me – it’s very intimidating.’
There are no options available to appeal the fine, however, so her only option is taking the National Enforcement Solution to court.
‘I’m an entertainer and I’ve lost all my work – a £400 fine for anybody is a lot of money,’ she said.
‘They’re giving me a goodwill extension, and offered to refund me, but fundamentally they’re saying you still have to pay the fine.
‘I don’t think you should pay for something like that, I feel like I’m admitting guilt, because it says on their website that you pay the fine to avoid prosecution.’
Olivia also says her neighbours have been fined by the snooping council, including for putting bins out too early.
A Rother District Council spokesperson said: ‘In this case, rubbish was found on the ground that contained Olivia Post’s name and address, suggesting that the resident had failed to dispose of her waste properly, and she was given an on-the-spot fine.
‘We appreciate that there are sometimes circumstances that we are not aware of and, having heard from Ms Post, we will reimburse her for the cost of the penalty notice as a gesture of goodwill.’
National Enforcement Solutions have been approached for comment.
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