Behind the Headlines 7

There’s a bit of a rumble about a man who was Fined £550 – for leaving wheelie bins out. The story has made its way into the Daily Mail as an example of little bureaucrats pushing people about.

Now there are two reactions to this. A knee-jerk shriek of  “But that’s outrageous” and a sensible “That’s really weird, there must be more to it.”

There is.

Gareth Robinson has been fined £350, plus £200 court costs. But not for simply leaving a bit out for a week or so. He claims they were left outside for “two days at the most”.

It does seem a bit unreasonable that the council swooped down on someone for leaving their bins out for a couple of days. Turns out- they didn’t.

Reading beyond the headline shows this was not a one-off occurrence. Neighbours apparently find the Robinsons’ bins problematic, as there have been many complaints to the council. Mr Robinson had numerous warnings and notices about his bins before being given a fixed penalty of £60. Like the many warnings, he ignored this too.

Then he was summoned to court. He failed to appear to challenge council’s actions, and was fined in his absence.

There’s no mention in the news as to whether his neighbours had a quiet word, but if he’s the sort of man you can approach like that, it’s unreasonable to assume they didn’t.

The headline seems to imply that he left his bin out one day, and had a £550 fine land on his doormat soon after. This is not the case.

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