Council crackdown on rubbish left out early

A crackdown has been launched on Southend residents who leave their rubbish out too early.

The city council says Westcliff is particularly badly hit by litter-strewn streets, which is often caused by animals tearing open bags during the night to find food, it has been claimed.

Now council workers have been spotted opening bags to search them to find out which homeowners ignoring pleas to only live bags out on the day of collection.

Residents say bags are then secured with red tape, warning the culprits they have committed an environmental offence.

Long-suffering residents took to the Westborough Community Group’s Facebook to express their surprise saying: “Well blow me sidewards! I’ve just seen council ripping black sacks open and checking for evidence of who’s putting them out early! Taping them back up with red environmental crime tape and leaving them there.”

Another said: “Well done, about time. At least they are doing something.”

The crackdown seems to have been targeted at discarded rubbish in London Road and Ramuz Drive.

Waste contractors Veolia have made repeated attempts to solve the problem and letters to residents appeared in shop windows earlier this year warning they face fines of £150 if they are caught putting rubbish out other than on their designated day.

A Veolia spokesman said: “We ask that residents put their rubbish sacks and bins out on the edge of their property by 7am on their collection day. Waste and recycling left on the street too early may be scavenged, resulting in litter.

“Residents who repeatedly put bags out on the wrong day or at the wrong place can be issued with an £80 fixed penalty notice. Fly-tipping is when large items are dumped and is a criminal offence, with a £400 fixed penalty notice and potential prosecution in court.”

Council leader Tony Cox said: “It’s not just the unsightliness and the smell of having the rubbish out on the road for days, especially when the weather is hot, but there is a possible environmental health risk depending on what is contained within the bags.

“I would like to thank the highways enforcement team for their continued efforts in keeping our city’s pavements rubbish-free.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter