Published: 05:00, 25 May 2022
| Updated: 09:40, 26 May 2022
An angry builder says his children have been picked on at school after his picture was included in an appeal to track down suspected fly-tippers.
A photograph of Liam Blackwell was circulated last week by Canterbury City Council, which alleged he was among those caught on CCTV dumping rubbish next to a bin store outside Elizabeth Court in Herne Bay.
The 33-year-old - who says he left a plastic box beside the sheds - was captured on a camera installed near the Queen Street high-rise amid reports of persistent waste dumping in the area.
But he believes it is “disgusting” he now faces the prospect of being slapped with a fine, because he says the bin stores at the block - where his girlfriend lives - were full at the time.
“I didn’t know the best place to put it, so I put it beside the bin. I was going to stamp on it, but the sheds were so full,” Mr Blackwell told KentOnline.
“I do realise there are bad things in the world with fly-tipping, but it was a single little box. I just think it was pathetic to put something up like that.
“I logged onto my Facebook and saw everyone was like ‘mate, have you seen what’s going on?’
“Kids at my children’s school are taking the mick out of them, laughing at them over it.”
Mr Blackwell, from Sturry Road in Canterbury, had been staying at his girlfriend's flat when the incident occurred.
He says the box contained an old yellow dress that used to belong to his partner’s daughter, a pair of shoes and its broken lid.
Mr Blackwell says he had a “hectic weekend” after the CCTV images were released last Wednesday, as he did not know if he would have a job to go to on Monday morning.
“My boss said he didn’t want me working there because he said it was bad publicity for his company,” he added.
“I managed to get it back, but it was so stressful. It’s made out I did a massive bit of fly-tipping.
"If they want to prosecute me over a plastic box that’s up to them, but it’s disgusting, I think.
“There was another woman in the block who said she didn’t even want to go on the school-run because people were laughing at her – and all she did was leave a black bag there.”
Mr Blackwell believes the city council needs to increase the number of bin collections at the building – from once to twice a week – to prevent the issue from continuing.
In all, five alleged fly-tippers were recorded leaving rubbish on the pavement adjacent to the block's bin store while the camera was in place between March 29 and April 27.
"Kids at my children’s school are taking the mick out of them, laughing at them over it..."
Action is already being pursued against one of the suspects, who was identified by a local authority housing officer.
Responding to Mr Blackwell’s concerns, council spokesman Rob Davies said: “An appeal like this is always very carefully thought through in advance and we are aware of the impact it can cause.
“It is very much a last resort when all other options to resolve a problem have been exhausted.
“We are continuing to investigate this, and are grateful for the information that has come in so far and will be taking appropriate action.
"We will also be reviewing the general situation regarding how residents of Elizabeth Court dispose of their rubbish.
“The bin storage area featured in the appeal is one of two that are available for this block. We will be looking to see if any tweaks to the disposal arrangements are required."