A pensioner who had three bins stolen from his home is outraged after being told he will have to pay £75 to replace them.
Les Barber, 74, says his home, in Gladstone Terrace, Houghton, was targeted by a group of vandals who stole his black, blue and green bins and set fire to them on Friday, October 6.
The grandfather-of-seven, who is recovering from stomach cancer, has been in touch with the fire service and police who attended the incident, but on contacting Sunderland City Council for replacement bins he says he was told he had to pay £25 per bin.
When contacted by the Echo, a council spokesman said the authority is still looking into the situation.
Mr Barber said: “I live opposite New Penshaw Park and over the last few years we have been plagued by anti-social behaviour, with gangs stealing bins and setting them on fire.
“I phoned the council on Monday and spoke to the City and Neighbourhood Department and told them what had happened, but they said I had to pay £25 per bin - which is a total of £75 - to replace them.
“I have been paying £100 council tax a month since 1970, I am a pensioner and Christmas is coming - I can’t afford to pay £75 for new bins.”
Mr Barber, who lives with his wife Yvonne, 60, said he asked if he could pay in instalments but says he was told he had to pay a one-off fee.
He also asked what would happen if he put his rubbish in bags and left them outside his property, but was told they would not be collected if they were not in a bin.
The retired packaging engineer added: “This is the second time our bins have been stolen over the last year or so and last time I didn’t have to pay to replace them.
“I just phoned the council and we had new bins delivered within 10 days.
“I can’t believe the council are doing this.
“I am just a victim, I am being victimised by anti-social behaviour and now I am being victimised by Sunderland Council.”
Guidance on Sunderland City Council’s website on bin replacement says: “The £25 charge will cover the costs of providing new bins, but won’t apply if your bin is reported as stolen (with a police crime number), burned out or damaged during normal use.”
A Sunderland City Council spokesman said of Mr Barber’s case: “We are still looking into the situation.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Police are carrying out inquiries after wheelie bins were stolen from an address in Gladstone Terrace in Mount Pleasant.
“The bins were stolen between 5pm and 10pm on Friday, October 6.
“Any witnesses should ring Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 365 071017 or crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”