A woman who illegally dumped two armchairs in a communal bin area despite knowing she would be breaching her tenancy agreement has received a criminal record for her actions.
At Banbury Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday) 31-year-old Amy Southard pleaded guilty to one charge of failing in her duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent any contravention of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Daniel Smith, prosecuting on behalf of Cherwell District Council, told the court that on December 15 2014, two red armchairs were dumped in the communal bin area at the Bretch Hill maisonettes in Banbury where Southard was living.
He explained following investigations, the armchairs were identified as belonging to Southard, who was aware of the procedures involved in removing bulky waste as she had previously utilised the council’s collection service.
He added: “All tenants are told on their tenancy that the bin store area isn’t for the disposal of large household items. The collection of items has to be with the council or other waste collectors and Miss Southard knew this. She had made arrangements for large items in the past.”
Mr Smith explained the armchairs were removed by Sanctuary Housing, which is the housing association for the maisonettes, as the items were dumped on private land. However he acknowledged incidents such as this are a “significant problem” for the council.
“Far from taking all reasonable steps she failed to take any reasonable steps,” he added.
Satyanam Singh, defending, told the court the incident was a “one off offence”. However he accepted that because Southard had previously enquired with a neighbour about how to dispose of furniture and had paid for a sofa to be removed, this had created a “double edged sword”.
Referring to the armchairs and the events leading up to the offence, Mr Singh said: “It’s fair to say the items were in a fairly tatty state which had outlived their usefulness but it was all she had at the time. She made enquiries to purchase better items which came in dribs and drabs. She was then offered the remaining parts of what she needed at short notice and didn’t want to lose the opportunity.”
He added that Southard was “sorry” for her actions and “should have acted more responsibly”.
“They were not dumped in the countryside or a street corner,” he said.
“She was expecting a delivery of new furniture so wanted to get rid of the old ones. At the time she had all the best intentions; as soon as she could afford it she would phone the local authority to make the payment.”
Chairman of the bench George Greene sentenced Southard to a 12-month conditional discharge, ordered her to pay £200 towards the council’s legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
He added: “Things like this do leave a mess for other people; you don’t want to see that mess so it’s not fair for others to see yours.”