Monday, 22 February 2016

It began as a simple – and we suspect none too serious – idea to save a few quid in these straitened times.
An item on a Facebook page group called “Buy it and sell it – Boston” suggested a way to save £10 a year on the forthcoming charges for collecting green waste – you remember, the service which Boston Borough Council repeatedly promised would remain free of charge.
The author proposed an arrangement with neighbours to register bins under one address, and said as an example: “Three neighbours would normally pay £90; using the above you would pay £60, a saving of £10 each – not a lot, but better in your pocket than Boston Borough Council’s.”
Enter the Worst Street – wielding its famous Iron Fist in the Iron Glove.
First came a piece on the borough website – headed “Don’t be a garden waste cheat.”
It declared that the writer – who is not identified by the borough but whose name appears on Facebook –  made the recommendation “in order to deceive” which “would be a clear case of obtaining services by deception - a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1978”
It describes the saving made as “paltry”  at less than less than 3p a day – although would work out at 21p a week  … more than twice the increase in council tax.
Wednesday’s foam-flecked invective reappeared the next day in the Boston daily Beano (incorporating Knitting Pattern Gazette) beneath the same headline, with the added tagline: “It’s an offence under the Theft Act,” and was also taken on board by the Boston sub-Standard with the added hint of menace in the line “The council has confirmed to the Standard it will not be taking any action against the individual at this time.
Does this imply that some Damoclean sword is hanging over this taxpayer’s head?  It certainly sounds like it.
As all this was going on a copy of the terms and conditions of the  garden aste collection service suddenly appeared online – after the Facebook item had appeared, we suspect.
This is because of condition 15, which says: “It is not permitted to share more than one bin between properties, e.g. to have more than one bin at a property for the purposes of sharing bins with other properties to avoid the first bin £30 registration charge.”
This is such an obscure possibility, that we think is was included after the Facebook suggestion appeared –  otherwise there would have been no need to launch such a vicious attack … merely a civilised and unthreatening line to point out that the suggestion was precluded by the rules.
In true Big Brother mode, Worst Street added: “We will regularly check our systems with crew information and in-cab technology to verify bins which are shared between property locations and we reserve the right to reject and not empty or service any additional bins which we have reason to believe are shared outside the terms and conditions.”
How very, very sad.
Boston Borough Council has previous for issuing threats against taxpayers – and it is about time it wound its neck in and started behaving more reasonably.

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