Nurse handed fine for feeding ducks told it could be seen as fly-tipping
A nurse was handed a £100 fine for feeding ducks in Kent last week.
Susan Watson, 68, from Lavender Hill in Tonbridge, was out walking last Tuesday (31 January) when she was given a fine for littering after feeding some ducks.
The grandmother scattered slices of bread for the ducks before she was approached by a Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council officer who fined her £100.
The council has now refunded the fine but the experience left the nurse “shocked and embarrassed”.
Watson was told she had committed an environmental infringement and that scattering bread could be seen as fly-tipping.
The 68-year-old asked the council officer if he could give her a warning but he refused, despite the fact that she claims no crumbs fell onto the pathway and the bread went straight into the water.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council recently brought in a private enforcement company to implement a borough-wide crackdown on littering in a project named ‘No Ifs, No Butts’.
Residents who recieve a penalty are fined £150 or £100 if the fine is paid within 10 days.
Susan, who has been a resident for nearly 20 years, takes the same route into town every day and said she does not often feed the ducks.
The nurse, who works at a dementia home in Borough Green, decided to pay the fine, saying £100 is the equivalent of what she would earn during six hours on a night shift.
“I’ve had to take the money out of my pension fund to pay for it. It’s madness. Everyone I have told thinks I’m making it up. I’m so embarrassed, I’ve never paid a fine in my life before”, she said.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council said: “We got this one wrong. The enforcement officer from NES considered that dropping what he felt was a large amount of bread into the river justified a penalty. However, before this was even brought to our attention, the company had reviewed the case and come to the decision that it was not warranted.
“The penalty has already been refunded and we’d like to apologise to Mrs Watson for the error.”
The average registered nurse salary in the UK is £34,127 per year or £17.50 per hour.