These sentencing guidelines are literally rubbish!
As a Copeland councillor and Conservative PPC for Copeland I had messages from irate people all over the country when Copeland Council prosecuted Whitehaven bus driver Gareth Corkhill for leaving his wheelie-bin slightly over-full so that it was four inches short of closing.
An anonymous donor paid his £225 fine but he still ended up with a criminal record. Last year nearly 44,000 Britons received fines, generally of around £100, for “crimes” such as leaving their rubbish out on the wrong day.
I have said all along that the authorities should try to be lenient with people who are trying to do the right thing but may have made human mistakes, and if we're going to make an example of anyone it should be the serial culprits involved in dropping litter and fly-tipping.
Which makes it absolutely infuriating when a judge is forced by sentencing guidelines to be lenient with someone who operates flytipping on an industrial scale.
I defy anyone other than a fly-tipper to read this article in the Express without being furious or embarrassed.
It is absolutely barmy that we have sentencing guidelines which effectively require a judge to let off with a suspended sentence a repeat offender who has made a lucrative and fraudulent business out of dropping rubbish on beauty spots.
The judge himself said that he understood how homeowners would feel “resentful” at being penalised for “some miserable dustbin offence” while this individual escaped with a suspended sentence. He added that
“It creates problems of perception that decent, law-abiding citizens fear having a dustbin with a lid that doesn’t close and this defendant gets away scot-free.
“Sadly the guidelines on individual offending prevent me from imposing an immediate custodial sentence.
“Although that’s what, in truth, a number of people would wish to do.”
The leader of Dartford Council, Jeremy Kite, whose officers helped to bring the case, told the Express: “I sometimes feel the world’s gone mad.”