‘I was treated like a criminal’ Hairdresser is fined £80 by litter officers after receipt fell out of his pocket while he rummaged for change
- Stewart Bernie, 60, dropped a receipt in Camden, north London, on March 21
- He was pounced on by two environmental officers who doled out a £80 fine
A hairdresser says he was ‘treated like a criminal’ after being slapped with a £80 fine when a receipt fell from his pocket.
Stewart Bernie, 60, says he’d never had any trouble with the law until he was challenged by two uniformed environmental officers after leaving a newsagents in Camden, north London.
The duo informed him that on his way into the shop at 10am that morning, he had dropped a receipt from his pocket on the payment, The Times reports.
The father-of-two explained that it related to cold medicine he had bought earlier that morning and apologised for the mishap, but was surprised to find the officers weren’t willing to let the matter rest.
He described one of the officers as ‘dismissive of what I had to say’ and ‘really intimidating, zero tolerance’.
Stewart Bernie, 60, says he’d never had any trouble with the law until he was challenged by two uniformed environmental officers after dropping a receipt in Camden, north London (Pictured: stock image)
Eventually, Mr Bernie asked to speak to a police officer on the phone but was told he’d be arrested if an officer came along.
‘Suddenly I am in this world of madness, absolute madness,’ he said.
After a while, Mr Bernie gave his details and accepted the £80 notice in order to be ‘out of the situation’.
He is now awaiting the result of his appeal against the penalty from March 21.
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said guidelines drawn up by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) said punitive action in cases of littering must be fair.
She said: ‘Accidental littering, something that’s fallen from someone’s pocket, is specifically referred to as a scenario where a fixed-penalty notice should not be issued.’
The Times reports that among local authorities in England and Wales, Camden was the fourth highest for dishing fixed-penalty notices for littering in 2018-19 – handing out 5,774 fines.
A Camden council spokesperson said: ‘Fly-tipping and littering are issues that our residents care deeply about and we invest £6million each year to keep our streets clean and vibrant. In this case a Fixed Penalty Notice has been issued, which has not been paid and has been challenged — this is in process and awaiting an outcome.’