A man has been slapped with a £400 fly-tipping fine – after being caught building a bonfire.
The man – who has not been named – was hit with the penalty after being accused of ‘dumping wood’ ahead of bonfire night.
The fine was issued by Stoke-on-Trent City Council on Wednesday.
Now Staffordshire Police have stepped up patrols in the area as bonfire night co-incided with the first day of the second national coronavirus lockdown.
Sergeant Chris Moss, from Staffordshire Police, tweeted: “A £400 fine has been issued by Stoke-on-Trent City Council staff to a person dumping wood in Umberleigh Road, in Blurton, in preparation for a bonfire.
“Fly-tipping is illegal and due to regulations on gatherings we are robustly policing this. Local officers are in the area.”
Council leaders have defended the fly-tipping penalty.
Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for the environment, said: “The pandemic means that organised bonfire and firework displays are not taking place this year, and the lockdown rules are really clear that household mixing, even in a garden, is not allowed. It can result in a fine of £10,000 if you are found to be the organiser of a gathering of more than 30 people such as a fireworks display.
“A lot of proactive work has been taking place in communities to raise awareness of this, and Staffordshire Police and our environment teams have been visiting communities in Blurton, Newstead and other parts of the city to ensure people are aware of the rules so that people don’t get caught out and can follow the safety advice.
“Despite this, we found a resident dumping waste on the green in Umberleigh Road with the intention of building a bonfire.
Want a free daily bulletin which includes all the latest Covid-19 news – plus breaking news alerts direct to your inbox? Then sign up to our email newsletter service by clicking here.
Want to know more before you sign up? Click here.
Decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails? No problem – you can just follow the unsubscribe link.
“We do understand that the coronavirus restrictions mean it is a difficult time for all of us. But we hope that people understand that we all have to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.
“No-one wants the lockdown to continue for longer than it has to, we all want to protect ourselves and our loved-ones from this killer disease.”
To report fly-tipping call the council on 01782 234234.