Shielding pensioner 'gobsmacked' after being hit with littering fine

John France

John France, 74, who has been shielding, said he was "bemused" after receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice for littering. - Credit: John France

A shielding pensioner, who said he has only left his house since Christmas to get a Covid jab, was left "gobsmacked" after receiving a fine for littering about two miles from his Hornchurch home.

Ex-police officer John France, 74, was given an £80 Fixed Penalty Notice by Havering Council on February 11 for littering in Minster Way, near Upminster Bridge station, at or before 2.50pm on or before February 10.

He was sent a letter by the authority which said that "correspondence" with his name and address was found among waste at the location, which is just under two miles from his home in Cranham Road.

The letter accused John of demonstrating "a lack of due diligence for the storage and disposal of household waste".

John, who won a Mayor of Havering's Civic Award for services to the community and charitable work in 2018, said he suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and has been shielding at home with his wife Linda.

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He said he has only been out of his house since Christmas to get his Covid-19 vaccination at Hornchurch Library.

On his reaction to receiving the notice, he said: "I was completely and utterly bemused."

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John recalled giving an old computer chair away to a rag-and-bone man, who came by his home on February 9. It was in a box which had contained the delivery of a new chair to his home.

He believes the man may have dumped the box in Minster Way.

John claimed the council has not presented any photographic or video evidence of the littering and added: "I am very vigilant in respect of litter. I detest litter."

He has written to the council, saying the incident has caused his wife and him "unnecessary distress and worry" and called on the authority to apologise.

A council spokesperson said it cannot comment on active cases, adding: “It is an offence to transfer household domestic waste to an unlicensed waste carrier.  If you are paying someone to get rid of your rubbish, you must check if the person or company is a licensed waste carrier. 

“If you fail to carry out the checks, it could result in prosecution if the waste becomes fly tipping.

"The responsibility is on the person who pays for the waste to be disposed of. We will also be continuing to take action on those waste carriers who don’t have the correct licences."

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