Council's u-turn on Stourbridge litter picker fine

Stourbridge News: David Baker David Baker

DUDLEY Council has backed down on issuing a £75 fine for fly-tipping to a Stourbridge litter picker after his story made global headlines.

Stourbridge in Bloom volunteer David Baker was issued with a fixed penalty notice after council waste management officials found his domestic waste including personal letters in town centre rubbish bins.

The 39-year-old from Coventry Street branded the fine “pedantic” according to reports and the story has gone viral.

But in a surprising u-turn - Dudley Council’s cabinet member for the environment, cllr Tracy Wood, has confirmed she is rescinding the bill.

She told the News: “We’ve written to him and I’ve agreed the fine’s going to be rescinded. It makes us look bad to give him a fine for putting rubbish in the bin.

“It might have been better that he had a warning.”

But she said Mr Baker, who says he has voluntarily picked up litter in the town centre for the past few years, had already been urged not to put household or personal waste in public litter bins.

Cllr Wood said: “He has been told about putting personal waste in the bin. We’ve asked him not to do that before; he has carried on doing it.

“On a number of occasions our officers found waste with his name on it which is why they issued him with a fine. This was the fourth occasion.”

Mr Baker is reported to have said he put pizza boxes he found on the streets and items of junk mail delivered to his home in the town bins.

But cllr Wood said items found by council officers also included letters addressed to Mr Baker from HSBC and the NHS.

She added: “We’d just ask him not to do that. He should put personal waste in the normal rubbish collection - and if he’s going to collect waste from the town we'll arrange to get it collected.”

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, the borough’s shadow cabinet member for the environment, added: “I’d really want to ask why he’s putting personal stuff in public bins and potentially putting himself at risk of identity theft. I think the council needs to sit down and have a chat with him.”

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