Fashion Magazine

Couple Fined £1,200 for Clearing Rubbish Outside Their Home

By Elliefrost @adikt_blog

A couple who "just wanted to clean up their street" were fined £1,200 by the local authority for clearing "disgusting" rubbish from outside their home.

Veronika Mike, 41, and Zoltan Pinter said the street outside their two-bedroom home has been plagued by litter for years. People dump their rubbish in designated bins, but the rubbish is not collected and attracts rats.

On April 29, Zoltan filled an old cardboard box with food scraps and discarded packaging to clean his street. He wanted to prevent the scraps from rolling across the road and placed the box next to the garbage bins in the hope that the municipality would pick it up.

Zoltan said that his name happened to be on the cardboard box, but instead of a thank you, he was given a £600 fine a week later and a £600 fine. To his horror, Veronika was given the same, despite her name not being on the box.

READ MORE: The park that some residents fear so much can only be entered 'with a rape alarm and bodycam'

The couple, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, sent a letter to the council, signed by several neighbours, claiming that Zoltan, who works as a mechanic, and freelance videographer Veronika were not to blame and asking them to reconsider their decision.

Despite their efforts, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is sticking to the £1,200 fine. The couple are paying off the fine in instalments, as they consider the problem to be "resolved".

Couple fined £1,200 for clearing rubbish outside their home

Zoltan and Veronika, who have set up a GoFundMe to recover some of the lost money, said they will never clean their street again, "not even if the rats come."

"We just wanted to clean up our street and the council thanked us for that," Veronika told PA Real Life.

"I was really angry and crying at first. I've volunteered to clean up litter before and I've basically done the same thing and got fined £600 twice for nothing."

The couple, who have lived at the address for more than nine years, say they have been struggling with a waste problem for some time, with people leaving their household waste strewn across the street in front of their homes, including food scraps and paper packaging.

"The first few years went well, but after that the streets were always a mess," says Veronika.

"The trash bins are in front of our main entrance, it's disgusting."

Garbage collection happens every Wednesday morning, but the couple says they only empty the bins and don't clean up what's around them. Over the years, the couple have decided to clean the street themselves, sometimes with the help of their neighbors.

"Many people don't use their own bin, they just put it on top of other people's," Zoltan explains.

The situation is so dire that Veronika has seen rats, cats and seagulls rummaging through the rubbish.

"I'm actually afraid to walk past it on the street because I've seen a lot of rats and what looks like stray cats," she said.

"They are attracted by the smell and tear the plastic bags," Zoltan adds.

"That's why there is so much trash scattered around in the trash bins."

In late April, Zoltan came home from work and after seeing the trash blowing in the wind, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Zoltan thought he was doing his bit for the local community and said he had filled an old cardboard box with trash.

"We didn't want to have to look at it for another week," said Veronika.

He put the box by the trash cans, hoping the garbage men would pick it up.

"I couldn't put the bins in the trash because they were full, so I put it next to it," he said.

A week later, on May 8, the couple were shocked to receive a fine for 'failing to hand over household waste to a competent authority'. Zoltan and Veronika were each ordered to pay £600.

"There was a lot of rubbish lying around, but they don't care, they only found one name on the box - Zoltan's, and they made us pay. That's not fair," Veronika said.

"Even though only my name was on the box, they sent us both a fixed punishment. That's very, very strange. I don't understand why they gave Veronika a fixed punishment."

They received a letter from the City of Stoke-on-Trent Regulatory Services Environmental Crime Unit with a photo of Zoltan's box. It states that the couple "failed to comply with their statutory duty..." and points out that "under Section 34(ZA) Environmental Protection Act 1990; this constitutes an offence...".

While Zoltan was able to pay the fine straight away, Veronika can't afford it because she doesn't have a "regular income" as a videographer. She has been put on a repayment plan, paying £100 a month for what she described as street cleaning.

The couple attempted to appeal the council's decision and said they contacted Citizens Advice but were told the law was "black and white".

"Citizens Advice were very helpful and gave us numbers so we could get legal advice," said Veronika.

Zoltan even approached his neighbours and asked them to sign a letter stating that they "never left litter on the street" and demanded that the council reconsider their decision.

"We wrote a letter to the council and asked our neighbors to sign it, to show that I am not a dirty person, I am a clean person," he said. "They all signed right away, because they all know me."

After their experience, the couple said they would never clean their street again.

"We're not doing anything," Veronika said. "Even if the rats come, we're too scared to do anything now."

Councillor Amjid Wazir OBE, City Pride, Enforcement and Sustainability, advised: "This matter has been resolved and all liability has been removed.

"We remind residents and businesses that dumping waste is a criminal offence and all offenders will be fined."

To support Zoltan and Veronkia, click the link here.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog