A young man in Salford has been fined £550 for leaving his wheelie bin out.
Certainly, he ought to put his bin away. Certainly, he left it out more than once. But really, is this in any way proportionate or appropriate? How on earth can the punishment be said to fit the "crime"?
The Council claims that this isn't just jobsworth bureaucratitis – they say that there is a serious purpose behind it. You see, there has apparently been a number of fires started in bins in Manchester recently – in 2008, the fire brigade has been called out over 1,000 times to put out rubbish fires, many of which were in wheelie bins.
They can't stop kids lighting fires, so they prosecute the homeowner who suffers at their hands. They fail to deal with the hard target, and instead of trying harder they pick the easy one instead.
It's typical of today's overbearing, bullying bureaucratic environment – targeting people who don't break the law, because they can't stop those who do.
By Alex Deane