Hornchurch pensioner mistakenly threatened with £2,500 fine as Havering Council admits fly-tipping ‘mix-up’
PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 March 2020
Havering Council has apologised after it mistakenly sent an 84-year-old woman a warning letter threatening to fine her for a fly-tip she had been trying to get cleared up for more than 20 years.
Pauline Turner of Plumpton Avenue, Hornchurch, told the Recorder that for a long time she lived next door to the "neighbours from hell" that dumped a load of rubbish at the back of their property in 1997.
Eventually her neighbours were evicted, but the patch of ground with their rubbish on it has remained ever since.
Pauline complained to the council numerous time about the rubbish and officers have in the past cleared away some rubbish from what has become a fly-tipping hotspot.
But on February 25 this year, Pauline was served with a warning notice by the council under the anti-social behaviour crime and policing act 2014.
The 84-year-old told the Recorder: "I was given this letter for anti-social behaviour and vandalism and was told I had 14 days to tidy up the rear of my garden.
"But it isn't my garden. The picture is for [next door] and I've been trying to do something about it for 20 years.
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"In 1997 the neighbours from hell moved in and I'm still living with the consequences.
"A while ago I bought a skip and moved some of the rubbish myself but a lot of it was too heavy.
"Now everyone dumps their rubbish there. They're bringing it by the barrel-load."
The letter said Pauline had 14 days to clear the "waste rubble" in the alleyway at the back of her property.
If Pauline failed to comply with the warning she was told in the letter that she could face a community protection notice and a £2,500 fine.
Councillor Osman Dervish, Havering's cabinet member for environment said: "A warning letter was sent to the resident at the request of the ward councillor for the removal of fly-tipping as part of our investigation to try and get this rubbish cleared.
"Three days later, we received information from the resident that showed this did not belong to them and we have since withdrawn that letter.
"We're sorry for any mix-up and any inconvenience caused."