Kent

Woman, 70, fined £180 over sandwich wrapper

Lynn Brown
Image caption Lynn Brown said the ordeal had knocked her confidence

A grandmother was left "shaken" after being incorrectly fined £180 for having a sandwich wrapper in a shop.

Lynn Brown, 70, was helping out at a friend's clothing store in Canterbury, Kent, when council officers walked in and cautioned her for failing to produce commercial waste licence.

She said: "I was intimidated. Every time I close my eyes, I see these two fat men, in their black outfits, stab vests and reflective glasses."

Canterbury City Council has apologised.

The men walked into Revivals in St Peter's Street while the owner, Debbie Barwick, was at a hospital appointment.

Ms Brown said they used "bully-boy tactics" when they cautioned her before explaining why she was being fined.

After telling her to "just let me finish" one of the men pointed to her half-eaten sandwich and told her it was "commercial waste", she said.

Image caption Douglas Rattray from Canterbury City Council apologised for the mistake

"I said, 'I brought it from home, I'm going to eat it, fold up the wrapping and take it home with me'. He said 'Well then you're guilty of transporting commercial waste'."

Mrs Brown said the whole thing was ridiculous but she was slapped with the fine, and told it would increase to £300 if not paid within 10 days.

"I couldn't pay that out of my pension. It's really undermined my confidence."

The council has now confirmed the fine has been dropped.

Image caption The letter sent to Mrs Brown by Canterbury City Council

Douglas Rattray, head of safer neighbourhoods with Canterbury City Council, added: "It may sound mystifying to people but trade waste is any kind of waste going to be disposed of from those premises, obviously we're not really interested in a sandwich wrapper.

"We made a mistake there. We fully apologise to her for that. We should not have issued any form of penalty to her personally as a temporary worker."

He said the officer was new and will now have "proper training".

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