COMMENT: Time to take the head out of a row over an old fridge

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Nobody likes to see rubbish dumped on the streets or in the countryside, and it is only right that authorities crack down on fly-tipping whenever they catch the culprits.

On the other hand, everybody needs their bins emptied, and somewhere to dump their larger items of rubbish, particularly bulky items like old fridges, TVs and furniture.

So spare a thought for Roger Allen, who says that because he is a pensioner on benefits, he cannot afford to pay £20 to have his old fridge collected and taken away to be disposed of.

He was told the rules stated that he could not leave it at the tip because it no longer had a motor.

He says his only option is to find a spot where he can fly-tip the old fridge and risk the consequences.

Anyone convicted of fly-tipping at crown could face an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison.

If Mr Allen is unable to afford £20 to have his fridge taken away, it seems reasonable to suspect he could not pay a fine, so jail becomes a real possibility.

Surely that is bureaucracy gone mad?

Couldn’t we have a little common sense here?

It’s all very well to catch and punish fly-tippers, but can we really tolerate a system in danger of driving people to commit that very crime?

Mr Allen says he believes the council’s policy ‘promoted fly-tipping’.

And he may have a point.

Hampshire County Council, which manages Mr Allen’s local waste recycling centre, has said it will investigate and has asked Mr Allen to get in touch.

Let’s hope some discretionary solution can be found and that Mr Allen does not find himself in hot water over an old fridge.