Jobsworth Council Fine Pensioners For Littering After They Dropped Cherry Stones
A retired couple who were enjoying a bag of cherries under a tree in the sunshine were slapped with a £160 fine by council workers who accused them of LITTERING.
Peter Marsh, 69, and his wife Gillian Green, 65, were each given an £80 on the spot fine for leaving the cherry stones under the tree.
The couple claim the enforcement officers who approached them “behaved more like nightclub bouncers”, and the experience left them “terrified”.
They complained to Canterbury City Council, arguing the response to no more than 15 cherry stones being left was "far too heavy-handed.”
However, the council’s environmental team said they must pay up after they sought legal advice.
The pair have now paid their fines but Peter continued to complain and they were finally refunded £40 each.
Retired management consultant Peter, from Deal, Kent, said: "We ate no more than 15 cherries between us and put the stones at the base of the tree.
"When we left to continue shopping, we were approached by two men who were quite intimidating. We thought they were policemen.
"They did say they were enforcement officers but didn’t explain clearly what was happening.
"It was terrifying. They separated us and were far too heavy-handed. We are law-abiding people.
"We were scared at that point as we didn’t really know what was going on.
"At all times they were very polite but wouldn’t answer any of my questions and simply kept to their script, despite the fact they could see our discomfort.”
Peter was in Canterbury for a hospital appointment and said he was “shaking” after being approached.
He added: “I believe we were deliberately targeted as an older age couple who wouldn’t make a fuss.
"While totally supporting Canterbury City Council’s stance on litter, I think issuing a penalty of £160 for biodegradable cherry pips is overzealous.
"Surely a verbal warning would have been more appropriate - the way it was carried out was just disgusting.”
A Canterbury City Council spokesman said there was a bin in “reasonable” distance of the couple which they should have used.
He said: “Litter in the city centre is a priority issue for the public, as shown in our residents’ survey, and we seek to enforce fairly no matter the age or gender of the person who commits an offence.
"We consider that everything discarded improperly on the street is litter and we cannot differentiate between an item being large or small, cigarette end or food packaging, a half-melon or cherry leftovers.
"In this case, there was a bin within a reasonable distance for them to use.”
The spokesman added that CCTV cameras on the enforcement officers’ clothing showed that their approach was “fair and reasonable”.
He added: "Unfortunately these situations are often uncomfortable for both the individual and the officer. “