Published: 06:00, 17 March 2021
| Updated: 14:37, 19 March 2021
A 38-year-old has been fined for fly-tipping after he left a bag of unwanted clothes next to a charity donation bin.
Matthew Webb, of Aspen Close, in Swanley, received a £400 charge from Dartford council for placing the goods in front of a full clothing donation bank in Birchwood Road.
The leisure centre manager said: "On February 28 I drove to the clothes bank to drop off a bag of clothes to donate to the registered charity.
"The bank was full and therefore I placed the bag of clothes at the front, purely safe and visible for the charity collectors to come and collect.
"On Saturday I received a letter from Dartford Borough Council, issuing me a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice charge and an image of me for fly tipping.
"I was distraught as I have always donated old clothes to charity, and I have never fly-tipped in my life and never will.
"Not to mention the bag was visible and safely placed right in front of the bin and not on a lay by like most fly-tippers."
Matthew raised further concern after the letter did not include a name or signature from an individual at the council he could speak with.
The situation has caused the once avid donator to re-think his next clothing drop-off.
He continued: "During this tough time, people's mental health is at risk and this has really increased my anxiety levels, as I've been furloughed for over a year.
"It is not fair that the council can treat people like this.
"I understand fully that they need to prosecute people who tip beds, fridge freezers, paint pots etc, but surely not actual items that charities would appreciate immensely?"
Pictures taken in November showed the amount of rubbish that was left by flytippers in Birchwood Road and Oakfield Lane.
A Dartford council spokesperson said: "The Council encourages all kinds of recycling, and as well as our kerbside collections, we provide recycling sites where residents can dispose of unwanted items such as clothing in charity banks.
"However, any recyclables taken to one of our recycling sites must be placed in a bank.
"Not only are items left on the ground next to the banks deemed to be fly-tipping, risking a fine or prosecution, but they are exposed to the weather and other soiling, and likely to be of no use to the intended charity.
"It is unfortunately also the case that one fly-tipped bag will attract others and the recycling sites quickly become unsightly and a cause of many complaints to the Council.
"The Council seeks to prevent fly-tipping, and there are clear signs at the Birchwood Road recycling centre site advising that items must be placed in the banks and informing that CCTV is in use.
"Our camera caught Mr Webb leaving his waste on the ground, and the fine is therefore warranted, but can be challenged at court.
"Contact details for the appropriate charity are also printed on the banks, therefore if a recycling bank is full, we strongly advise residents to inform the charity by calling the number provided on the bank, and to come back with their recyclables another day, as anything left on the ground will be treated as fly-tipping."