Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man Fined for Picking up People’s Litter — and Putting it in the Trash

The Crying Inidan from a Keep America Beautiful campaing of the 1970s.

The Crying Indian from a Keep America Beautiful campaign of the 1970s.

David Baker, 39, of Stourbridge, West Midlands, England, was shocked when he received a fine of £75 for putting litter he had found on the ground into a trash receptacle. Baker is known for his enthusiasm when it comes to cleaning up litter, in fact he has won awards and been featured on television programs for his litter-collecting efforts since he started his campaign to raise awareness about littering in Stourbridge six years ago. He was outraged to find out that he was being fined for “fly-tipping,” or dumping on the fly, putting household garbage in a public bin.

So, to clarify, if some litterbug leaves an empty pizza box in the park for someone else to pick up, the civically-minded individual who decides to pick up the discarded pizza box, must take it home and put it in their own trash, or be fined for using a public garbage can. Junk mail is also considered “home garbage.” No wonder they have a littering problem in Stourbridge.

When asked for comment regarding the fine, Baker reportedly called it “bureaucracy gone mad,” adding, “I think that it is completely outrageous that I should be fined for actually cleaning rubbish off the streets.

“How can people who actually want to put rubbish in the bin be fined? To claim that what I put in the bin amounts to fly-tipping is crazy. I moved to a town center flat six years ago and got fed up with all the rubbish in the street. I am out at least an hour every day and do it all for free.”

The council is reportedly reviewing their decision, though they claim that Baker’s mail has been found in public garbage cans on more than one occasion. I guess they check that sort of thing over there.

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