Holywell clergyman slams council's drive against littering


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A RETIRED priest has launched into an ungodly rant over a council anti-littering drive.

The Rev James Thompson, of Holywell, said Flintshire Council’s Operation Clean-Up, which sees authority enforcement officers dish out fixed penalty notices to people caught littering and not cleaning up after their dogs, involved the officers

“snooping about” at taxpayers’ expense looking for smokers or dog owners.

Under the operation one woman ended up with a £470 final bill for dropping a cigarette butt after prosecution.

In a strongly worded letter to the Leader, Mr Thompson, who is well known as the self-styled ‘animal padre’ in his role as patron of Capricorn Animal Rescue and for his regular pets blessing services at the Quaystone Chapel and Bithell Chapel, called the operation “heartless” and “ruthless”.

He said: “We undoubtedly need to have our streets kept clean for the benefit of those who use them, and those who contaminate them need to be duly warned, and if persistent, duly punished.

“But for Christ’s sake – let the penalty fit the crime.

“Do not be responsible – as has this council – in (the case of) one lady shopper in Shotton being fined an exorbitant £470 and another lady in Mold being fined £210, both of whom had merely dropped, and left, one single biodegradeable ‘fag end’ on a single pavement.”

The new scheme came under the spotlight recently when mum-of-three Claire Forrester, of Garden City was landed with a £470 court bill after failing to pay a fixed penalty fine for dropping a cigarette butt.

Miss Forrester, 34, said she was unable to pay the initial £75 fine imposed in March and, on June 26, Flintshire Council carried out a successful prosecution against her at Flintshire Magistrates Court, in her absence.

Mr Thompson’s rant also singled out a council request for residents to inform them of any neighbours they know to be littering for criticism.

Flintshire Council said it wished to make no response to the letter.

Previously Cllr Kevin Jones, Flintshire Council cabinet member for waste strategy, said: “Dog fouling, littering, fly-tipping and graffiti is anti-social and will not be tolerated.”

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