Stoke-on-Trent man hit with fine for leaving fridge on street

Meir resident Paul Elsworth - who was initially left with a £400 fine for leaving his old fridge freezer outside his house

Stoke-on-Trent City Council issue a £400 fine for leaving a fridge outside a house despite resident paying them to take it away.

Paul Elsworth paid the authority to collect his old fridge from his home in Farmwood Close, Meir, using their bulky waste collection service on September 10.

His collection was scheduled to take place on October 1, and in the meantime he had planned to store the unwanted item in his garden as he had no room inside his property.

Ten days later council contractors began doing renovation work to a manhole in his back garden which prompted the need to move the fridge to a location where it was not interfering with the workmen.

Paul decided to place the item outside his property as it was the only temporary measure he felt was available to him at the time.

However, within days he had a letter from the city council accusing him of dumping rubbish and issued him with a £400 fine.

Despite having evidence that he intended to dispose of the unwanted white good's in a legal way, and photos of the work to his garden, the authority was insistent Paul was in the wrong, and that the fine be paid or the matter would go to court.

After bringing the story to the attention of the local media, the city council backed down, and cancelled the fine.

A statement was issued by the City Council on behalf of Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for environment who said: “Our environmental crime team works to take action on those people who dump rubbish and waste that blights our city.

"We’ve a zero tolerance approach in such cases and will take action, and residents tell us that they want us to take this action.

“We have a bulky waste collection service for people to correctly dispose of larger household items. The instruction is that items must be left out no earlier than the night before collection.

"In this case, Mr Elsworth booked a collection, but his fridge was seen by one of our officers outside the property during regular visits across the city last week, and a fine was issued.

“Mr Elsworth has since been in touch to explain the full circumstances why the fridge was at the front of the property. We have reviewed the case, and have let Mr Elsworth know that the fine has been cancelled in this instance.” 

While Paul is grateful the situation has now been resolved, he is critical of the way the issue was handled. Speaking to Signal News he said: "It was very distressing as I work away and my wife was on her own when the fine came through the door.

"She doesn't deal with things like that, so it was down to me to chase the council whilst I'm away, and then try to fight the battle to get the fine squashed.

"So, obviously it was upsetting receiving the ticket."

Following his experience, Paul added: "I would advise people to check with the council before they put things out on the pavement no matter what it is, and try to get something in writing to say you can do it.

"Or, keep things in your garden, otherwise you might get slapped with a fine."

Information on Stoke-on-Trent City Council's bulky waste collection scheme can be found here.


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