A single mum says she felt “forced” to pay a £400 fine she was issued for leaving waste next to an overflowing bin.

Cristina Bond, who lives in North Gardens, Brighton, was issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) after she left some boxes next to a communal bin in Church Street while she was on her way to work.

There were piles of other waste around the bin and it had been left like that for a few days.

Ms Bond, a part-time teacher, felt “forced” to pay the fine because she relies on a DBS check for her job and did not wish to go to court.

The Argus: Piles of waste next to the bin in Church StreetPiles of waste next to the bin in Church Street (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

A letter addressed to her, seen by the Argus, from Brighton and Hove City Council’s environment enforcement team reads: “This notice offers you the opportunity of discharging any liability for the above offence by payment of the fixed penalty notice of £400 to Brighton and Hove City Council within 28 days.”

Ms Bond told The Argus: “I am angry and I am hurt.

“It is outrageous. I pass that bin almost every day and it is often overflowing as are many of the others where I live.”

The Argus: The bin was left full, with rubbish still surrounding itThe bin was left full, with rubbish still surrounding it (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

When The Argus went to meet Cristina on March 28, a council bin lorry turned up at the communal bin on the corner of Church Street and Queen’s Road.

Workers cleared some of the litter left around it but did not empty the overflowing bin.

Ms Bond has been in touch with her MP Caroline Lucas who wrote to the council in light of a spike in casework for flytipping FPNs.

Ms Lucas said: “The council admits it is not able to empty overflowing bins in Brighton but is still fining residents £400 who don't know what to do during disruption.”

The Argus: Cristina said the fine was unfairThe Brighton Pavilion MP wrote to the council’s environment boss Tim Rowkins appealing for an amnesty on issuing FPNs in situations like Ms Bond’s.

Ms Bond, who is on low income, said: “I can’t afford a £400 fine. I had to pay for it in credit and it will have an impact on me in the coming months.

“I pay my council tax.

“I have written to the council but it took so long to respond and it all fell on deaf ears.

 “I'm at the end of my tether. I feel bullied into paying it and £400 is ridiculous given it is their fault the bins are full and I had to put my waste on the pavement.”

The Argus: The council says a new system to challenge fixed penalty notices will go live soonThe council says a new system to challenge fixed penalty notices will go live soon (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Cllr Rowkins said: “Following conversations with residents and businesses, we have been reviewing our enforcement policies.

“We want to be able to keep our city tidy, but in a way that is fair and proportionate.

“We have said that where there is disruption to bin collections across a wide area, our environmental enforcement team do not issue fixed penalty notices to residents who leave waste next to communal bins and where no alternative bins have capacity for residents to dispose of their refuse.

“Where residents feel there are grounds to challenge a fixed penalty notice, they can contact their local councillor who can ask for it to be reviewed.

“We are in the closing stages of testing a new public system for challenging fixed penalty notices. This will be available shortly, and will create a fairer and easier process.”