A TAXI driver claims he was prosecuted for fly-tipping after his bags of rubbish were taken from a bin and left on a grass verge. Fred Wood, 55, was fined £400 and ordered to pay £200 costs after he was taken to court by Huntingdonshire District Council.
A TAXI driver claims he was prosecuted for fly-tipping after his bags of rubbish were taken from a bin and left on a grass verge.
Fred Wood, 55, was fined £400 and ordered to pay £200 costs after he was taken to court by Huntingdonshire District Council.
But he says he put his rubbish in a friend's bin - only for it to be taken out by someone else - and is adamant he should never have been prosecuted
Mr Wood, who lives at Agden Hill Farm, Great Staughton, and drives a taxi in St Neots, has the support of his district councillor, who described the situation as a "neighbour's dispute that the district council should never have got involved in".
Mr Wood told The Hunts Post the saga started after he returned home from work early in the morning, but too late to catch the refuse collection at his home.
Rather than leaving rubbish outside his home, where he has experienced problems with rats, he decided to drive about half a mile to a friend's where the refuse collectors had not yet visited, and use his bin.
"I have put rubbish in this man's bin on two or three occasions. He used to be my gardener so he knows me and does not mind," said Mr Wood.
He said he put seven small black bags in the bin and closed the lid.
Mr Wood believes someone with a grudge removed the rubbish and left it on a verge, where it was found and HDC alerted.
The bags contained his name and address and he was contacted by the council and told he was being prosecuted for fly-tipping.
Mr Wood admitted that he had sworn at HDC officers after being confronted with court action and said he wanted to apologise for this.
He said: "What may have started as a neighbourhood dispute isn't now. This is more about how much it is going to cost me for rough justice."
Mr Wood is planning to appeal against his conviction and start disposing of his own rubbish.
District councillor for Kimbolton and Stonely, Jonathan Gray, said: "I do not believe Mr Wood left his rubbish on the roadside verge but in a friend's bin.
"How his rubbish then found its way on to the verge to become a fly-tipping offence is of course a great mystery."
He said the case was a "neighbour's dispute that the district council should never have got involved in".
A spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council said: "Any rubbish left next to a bin will not be collected and people could be prosecuted for fly-tipping."
It is estimated that fly-tipping costs local authorities nationwide about £44million each year to clean up.
Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, fly-tippers can be fined up to £50,000 in magistrates' courts, face unlimited fines in higher courts, as well as community punishment orders or go to prison for up to five years.
* Was it right to prosecute Mr Wood? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Fly-tipping dispute, The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TB.