Food for thought...pensioner fined for leaving scraps out for local wildlife
Miriam Towson was handed the £75 fixed penalty notice after she put the four potato skins on a patch of grass near her Osmaston Walk home on the Oak Tree Lane estate, Mansfield.
The 73-year-old widow, who owns a dog and a parakeet and subscribes and donates regularly to no fewer than six animal charities, said she does it to help feed the local birds, hedgehogs and foxes.
She admits to being warned before for leaving food on the patch of council-owned grass, but said the food would have otherwise been binned.
“I was very upset by it. I love animals so I feed them, it’s the way I was brought up,” she added.
“It’s just ridiculous.
“I used to put bread out for the birds on the grass but I was told to stop doing it because of being ‘unsightly’.
“I wouldn’t care but and I was stopped in the shopping centre last month by the RSPB who says we should be feeding the birds.
“I put seeds and bread out for the birds, I feel very strongly about it, and this seems very petty.
“Everybody has laughed when I’ve told them, they think it’s ridiculous.”
The reason given for the fine on the hand-written notice was that Ms Towson ‘admitted to throwing food on an area of council land, leaving it behind’.
But the council are refusing to rescind the fine, claiming the food she had put out would only serve to ‘attract vermin’.
Coun Mick Barton, portfolio holder for public protection at Mansfield District Council, said: “Ms Towson has been warned several times for discarding unwanted food waste, including meat, onto council land.
“There is a high risk that this foodstuff will attract vermin and we have received complaints from neighbours.
“Regrettably, we had no option but to serve her with a fixed penalty notice.
“Residents continually tell us that littering and dog fouling are the top priorities that we should be focusing on and we try to respond to what the community is telling us.
“The council spends £1.35m a year keeping the district’s streets clean and takes a zero tolerance approach to environmental crimes including littering.”