The town hall has defended its decision to fine residents for leaving their bins out past midnight on collection day.
Workers at Wigan Council issued a notice to Leigh resident, Adam Peers, who returned after a night away to find a note on his wheelie bin. The image of the notice has circulated on social media, forcing a split between people who agree and those who oppose this type of disciplinary action.
The instruction reads: “Please put your house number on you bins as unnumbered bins will be removed from site. “Your bins must be taken in by midnight on day of collection to avoid a FINE.” But the notice has sparked a row on social media, with some people agreeing that bins should be brought in promptly, and others branding the fines as a money-maker for the council.
Mr Peers originally said: “My bins are numbered and they were left out because I wasn’t even at home to bring them in as I’d been at work and slept at another address overnight am I no longer allowed to sleep out or go on holiday in fear of a fine off our council?
“I always recycle and never not paid council tax, just makes me want to not bother anymore,”
But in a statement to the Wigan Observer, the council has explained that the fines are to help rid the streets of bins which can be used as vehicles for vandalism. Paul Barton, assistant director for environmental services at Wigan Council, said: “Bins being left out on the street can become a target for arson, vandalism and theft which not only blights our communities but costs the council more than £250,000 a year to deal with.
“When we receive reports of bins not being removed after collection we do deploy staff to inspect and to remind residents of the need to remove their bins as soon as possible. “We also encourage residents who are out at work to try to make arrangements for someone to remove their bins in their absence.”
Firefighters recently issued a warning to remind residents to lock away their bins where possible as they can be used to start fires which result in time wasted for crews. There have also been some instances where flames have spread from a wheelie bin and caught fire to nearby houses, cars or sheds.
Police have also warned people that burglars can use wheelie bins as a way of accessing higher entrance points to properties, for example standing on the top of a bin to gain access to a window. But the news has sparked a lively debate between residents, with many agreeing with the fines and others going as far to call it a “dictatorship”. Elizabeth McGrath said: “Fire service working in conjunction with the council that have implemented this many years ago…makes sense to me especially with all the recent bins being set on fire.
The fire service attending to bins that have been left out could potentially stop a crew reaching a much more severe incident.” Gary Collinge added: “How’s about us sticking a notice on a WBC bin wagon. Asking those who empty our bins to put bring the bin back to our front instead of leaving in on the kerb next to the main road. I have very little time for bin men these days.”