Council snooping through public bin fine couple £400 for throwing away envelope

A couple have been slapped with a £400 littering fine - after one of them put an envelope in a public bin. Stoke-on-Trent City Council has hit Deborah and Ian Day with individual £200 fines after fishing out the envelope which contained their address.

Deborah, who lives on Dividy Road, in Bentilee, was on her way to work when she put the envelope in the public bin on her street. But council investigators say this breaches sections 87 and 88 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and constitutes it as an offence of littering because household waste cannot be put in a public bin.

The 47-year-old hairdresser said: "I have received a letter from the council with a fine of £200 and my husband has received one too because apparently we’re both to blame. It is for an empty envelope inside a bin and the council has even attached a photo of the envelope which had my address on it in their letter.

READ: 496-day-old Papa Johns pizza receipt lands couple with £1.2k fly-tipping fine - David and Kelley Shropshire, from Smallthorne, are refusing to pay the Stoke-on-Trent City Council penalty

READ: Neighbours at war as mum fined £600 for leaving 'two boxes' next to bin - Heather Twigg, from Fenton, is refusing to pay her Stoke-on-Trent City Council fine

“I was so distraught. I wasn't well anyway because I had Covid and I thought ‘what the hell is this’? We have a lot of homeless people emptying bins and leaving rubbish around - it's ridiculous - I go to work and I pay my taxes.

Deborah and Ian Day were mortified to receive two £200 fines for throwing an envelope into a public bin in Dividy Road, Bentilee.
These are the separate letters from Stoke City Council addressed to both Deborah and Ian on May 1 2024.
Deborah and Ian Day were mortified to receive two £200 fines for throwing an envelope into a public bin in Dividy Road, Bentilee. These are the separate letters from Stoke City Council addressed to both Deborah and Ian on May 1 2024. -Credit:Deborah Day

“There was a man living in an empty freezer outside the One Stop shop and he left rubbish everywhere yet nothing was done about that. It’s shocking and unbelievable, the world’s gone mad.

“It’s laughable, I’ve emailed and tried to appeal it but they still say we’ve committed an offence. I’m not paying it. They’ve even said they’ll increase the penalty to £2,500 and threatened court action if we don’t pay the £400. But I’ll go to prison first. All just for one envelope.

Deborah and Ian Day were mortified to receive two £200 fines for throwing an envelope into a public bin in Dividy Road, Bentilee.
Since appealing the fixed penalty notices, Deborah and Ian have received this response from Stoke City Council.
Deborah and Ian Day were mortified to receive two £200 fines for throwing an envelope into a public bin in Dividy Road, Bentilee. Since appealing the fixed penalty notices, Deborah and Ian have received this response from Stoke City Council. -Credit:Deborah Day

“The council is fining innocent people instead of cracking down on the people who actually do fly-tip. People throw settees and furniture out into the street and there’s rubbish all the way down to the field nearby. If I see rubbish on my street I pick it up and put it in the bin - it’s really annoyed me.”

A Stoke-on-Trent City Council Spokesperson said: “This case is currently under investigation with our Environmental Crime Team and we are unable to comment further at this time.”

NEWSLETTER: Sign up for email alerts direct to your inbox