THE manager of a charity shop has thanked a local authority after it cleared up a huge pile of rubbish dumped on its property which could have set its finances back months.
Gemma Sinclair, the manager of Sue Ryder in Havant, feared the shop could be taken to court unless the fly-tipped junk at the back of the shop was moved because it was infested with rats.
This was despite the fact a large proportion of the rubbish was dumped by the former tenants of the adjacent White Hart pub when it closed.
The News revealed last week that as well as a football table, the pub’s A-board and other rubbish, a car was also dumped on the site for months.
Because it was on Sue Ryder’s land the charity faced having to pay £1,000 to have it taken away to avoid action by Havant Borough Council’s environment health officers.
But the council has now stepped in to take the rubbish away as a one-off gesture of goodwill.
Ms Sinclair said: ‘The ex-landlady wrote me a letter after the story appeared in The News.
‘She said “as a gesture of goodwill” she would remove it by May 17. I wasn’t impressed by that – it was her rubbish.
‘Fortunately Havant’s environmental health said they would remove it as a one-off which we, and the charity’s head office, are very, very grateful for.
‘I have been here for four years and there hasn’t been a single instance before now where we had fly-tipping round there.
‘We actually saw people from the pub dumping the rubbish there but we couldn’t prove it which meant we almost had to pay for it.
‘The final quote to move all of it was £950.
‘As a small charity shop that would have been a major setback for us. That is a good week’s takings.
‘Having to pay out that sort of money at the beginning of the financial year would have had a major impact on us.
‘And all the while it was for rubbish that was not even ours.’
Anita Page, the former landlady of the White Hart, which is on the crossroads in the centre of the town, contacted The News to say no-one from Sue Ryder had spoken to her about the fly-tipping problem.
She said: ‘Clearly some of the items are ours from when the pub closed but to imply it is all ours or that we are adding to it is extremely unfair.’
The council’s environmental health team leader Nicky Thomas, said she had been working with the charity shop to get the rubbish cleared.
She added: ‘Owing to the large amount of fly-tipping at this property, not necessarily that of the tenants or owner, the council has cleared the area. We have advised those involved to erect fencing and gates to the property to prevent reoccurrence, as they would be liable for any future fly-tipping on their property.’