Young mother ordered to pay £265 for putting bin out 24 hours too early


Zoe Watmough: Fined £265 for putting her bins out early

Timing is everything as Zoe Watmough has found to her cost after putting her bins out a day early.

As a result, the 22-year-old mother was hauled before magistrates and handed down a legal bill of £265.

Council officers spotted her two bins - a green one for recycling and a grey one - on a Wednesday, 24 hours before it was due to be collected.

The rules of Bolton Council in Greater Manchester dictate bins should not be put out until after 7.30am on the day refuse collectors are due.

At Bolton magistrates court Zoe was fined £125, ordered to pay £125 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The court was told the council is pursuing prosecutions over bins left on streets because of the number of arson attacks by youths in the area.

It is estimated the cost of attending a bin fire is £1,900, and they cost the fire service up to £3million each year across the country.

But at home Zoe said: "I am flabbergasted.

"There are people committing all sorts of crimes and getting away with it. Yet I have left my bin out and have been fined the best part of £300.

"Everybody in this area puts their bins out the day before collection. I don't see what the problem is and can't afford to pay the fine." 

The court heard Miss Watmough had already been sent a warning by council officers who spotted last November that her bins were out before collection day.

When they spotted them out on a second occasion - in January - Miss Watmough was given a £75 fine. That resulted in a prosecution because she did not pay it within seven days.

Run-ins with councils over bin collection and their contents are not unusual.

Retired milkman Barry Freezer recently made the mistake of dumping cabbage stalks in his bin and incurred the wrath of the council's waste collection supremos.

The 73-year-old says they treated him like a criminal and refused to collect his garden waste, claiming the cabbage trimmings were kitchen rubbish.

The binmen were following an obscure rule that forbids food that may have come into contact with meat from being mixed with garden waste for composting, to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as foot and mouth.

The week before it emerged the same council had refused to empty the bin of partially sighted ex-Desert Rat Lenny Woodward, 95, because he put a ketchup bottle and an empty coffee jar in the wrong bin.