ANGRY neighbours today rubbished a £110 fine that could hit people whose bins are left on the street for more than 12 hours.
Leaflets have been posted through the doors of hundreds of homes in Dawdon urging householders to take in their wheelie bin after they have been emptied.
However, the rule – which is in force across the county and has previously been hailed a success in Horden – has come in for criticism for making life tougher for those with busy lives or struggling on a low income.
Bob Blair, 59, of Longnewton Street, Dawdon, said: “We have got people working 12 hours a day and then they go shopping and they might go for some entertainment and it’s over 12 hours before they get back home.
“It’s called life and dealing with something like this is absolutely ridiculous.”
The council says the move, made with the support of police and fire service, comes after 759 bins have been lost in East Durham within the last six months, and the authority landed with an annual £200,000 bill to replace the containers across the county.
In the last five weeks, three bins have been burnt out in Dawdon.
Householders who leave out bins are sent a note asking them to ensure it is taken in, then a letter is sent on the second occasion highlighting they could face a fine, with the penalty issued on the third incident.
However, they could also face court and fine of up to £1,000.
About a dozen bins remained in the back lanes of Dawdon yesterday, the day after they were emptied.
Keith Parkinson, council street scene manager for East Durham, said: “I must stress we are not trying to be unreasonable with people and, yes, people do have different life balances.
“But what we have in areas like Dawdon, which is a small ex-colliery area with back yards and narrow streets, is people who will leave bins out all week.
“Bins are getting stolen at an alarming rate.”
The council says is yet to issue any of the fines because previous requests have led to residents taking action.
Dawdon councillor Charlie Walker (pictured inset) said clearing the back lanes and streets of bins could help prevent a tragedy caused by arson.
He added: “Once these bin fires take hold, they take some putting out.
“Some people put them out, but don’t bring them out until the next day or longer, but we’re talking about a minority of people.
“These fines are only for the most extreme cases.”