Fine for Banbury resident after rubbish left outside as 'free to take' was found dumped in alley

A Banbury resident has been fined £200 after furniture and household items which they left outside their home with a sign saying they were ‘free to take’ were later found dumped in a nearby alleyway.
The items found in the alleywayThe items found in the alleyway
The items found in the alleyway

Cherwell District Council issued the householder with a fine for failing in their duty of care. The council said the resident was unable to give a reason why the items were found and had assumed that, when they were gone, someone had taken them.

Councillor Dan Sames, Cherwell District Council’s lead member for clean and green, said: “It’s important that residents ensure that their unwanted items are disposed of properly to avoid the risk of them being dumped elsewhere by third parties and then being liable for a fine.

“Whilst in this case, the resident had the best of intentions by leaving items outside their property with a ‘free to a good home’ sign they had no idea of where the items would end up. Making use of Cherwell’s bulky item collection service or taking them to either a charity shop or recycling centre are much safer options and will avoid residents being issued with a fine.”

Illegal waste disposal in a public place is an offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment if convicted in a magistrates' court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years' imprisonment for perpetrators convicted in a crown court.

Householders have a duty to ensure rubbish taken from their properties is done so by a licenced waste carrier. If they fail to check the person taking the waste is legally allowed to do so, and it then turns up fly-tipped somewhere, the homeowner is responsible for the dumped waste.

In this case, after consideration of the possible offences committed, the resident paid the fine for failing in their duty of care, as an alternative to being prosecuted.

Anyone with information about fly-tipping in the district can contact Cherwell District Council on 01295 227007.