Monday, April 26, 2010

Bureaucratic Bullying!!!

This is a vile and disgusting story that shows just how far Britain has sunk! Is there no low that petty officialdom will not stoop to?

Original Story Here

Grandmother's six-month court ordeal for leaving cardboard box next to recycling bin

After travelling to a recycling site, Lynne Doyle discovered the cardboard box she wanted to throw away was too big to fit into the slot of the bin.

As no one was around to help, she carefully wedged the collapsed box between two bins before heading home.

The decision would lead to 'six months of hell' after council busybodies pored over CCTV footage to identify her before accusing her of dumping 'controlled waste', threatening her with a £300 fine and dragging her to court.

It was only when her lawyer advised her to opt for a jury trial at crown court that the local authority suddenly dropped the case.

'They acted as if I dumped a body at the recycling centre, not a cardboard box,' said Mrs Doyle, a 59-year-old grandmother-of-two, from Wickford in Essex.

'Why on earth have they got cameras at recycling points? They are quite happy to take photos of law-abiding citizens and use it against them in court but not where fly-tipping is a real problem.

'They are only interested in chasing people when they think they can get money out of them.'

Fancy dress shop owner Mrs Doyle's problems began on October 3 last year when she took the box from a new washing machine to the recycling point at a Somerfield supermarket near her home.

A few days later she received a letter from Basildon Council demanding she contact them about 'an incident'.

When she rang up, she was told the environmental officer she needed to speak to was on holiday.

She heard nothing further until a couple of weeks later, when the officer phoned her home and her partner Nick Smith, 64, a retire car restorer, told him he could find her at her shop.

Mrs Doyle said: 'He turned up in full Basildon Council uniform, which consisted of a luminous jacket, with another guy holding a clipboard.

'He started reading me my rights, saying I had the right to remain silent or that anything I said would be used in evidence against me. I said "What is this? It's only a cardboard box".

'He said I dumped it but I told him I placed it very carefully so it wouldn't blow away. He seemed to think it was from work but we don't have any rubbish from work, we re-use everything.

'Then he said he had video evidence of me chucking it on the floor. I don't know how many customers I lost when they turned up and saw me being interviewed by this man and me crying.

'It went on for about three-quarters of an hour. He was asking for my National Insurance number and my date of birth.'

The council workers handed her a notice for a £300 fine which she screwed up and threw in the bin before ordering them out of her shop.

During her ordeal, Mrs Doyle was under intense pressure running her recession-hit business as well as looking after her daughter and mother, who were both receiving treatment in Basildon Hospital.

Her daughter Carly 32, was suffering a difficult pregnancy due to the effects of a brain tumour she had suffered from previuosly and had to be taken into hospital early to give birth to her son Thomas in November.

The following month her 83-year-old mother Dilys, who had been suffering from dementia, died in hospital.

She added: 'I rang the council and said "I can't deal with this at the moment, my mum is dying, and I am not in the mood for dealing with a cardboard box". But it made no difference.'

On March 22, Mrs Doyle received a letter charging her with 'depositing controlled waste' and summoning her to Basildon Magistrates' Court on April 9.

'I work on my own because I can't afford to pay anyone. I'm struggling to stay afloat and I'm not even paying myself any wages to survive this recession,' she said.

'I had to close the shop and pay £90 solicitor's fees to go to court.'

When she turned up for the hearing, she followed her solicitor's advice and elected to have her case heard by a jury at crown court.

But last week she received a letter out of the blue telling her the council was dropping the case.

It read: 'The Council are no longer proceeding with the case against you and will therefore be withdrawing the summons against you.'

Mrs Doyle said: 'There is no apology and no explanation why they have dragged this out for six months.'

No comments: