COUNCIL ‘jobsworths’ have been blamed for a record number of ‘petty’ anti-social behaviour orders handed out last year.
Campaign group Manifesto Club claims the ‘victims’ include people accused of having untidy gardens, feeding stray cats and sitting on the pavement.
Last year, 10,413 fines were issued for breaches of public spaces protection orders, which allow councils to ban activities deemed ‘detrimental’ to residents. A total of 8,760 community protection notices were also handed out. The largest number were for people with ‘messy’ or ‘eyesore’ gardens and neighbourhood disputes.
They included an artist from Barking and Dagenham, issued with a notice by a council officer who objected to her ‘woodland-style’ garden, and pensioner Bob Mouland (pictured) — ‘caught’ restoring a rusting fountain in Folkestone, Kent.
Peterborough, Bedford and Hillingdon councils, which employ private firms to issue fines, accounted for almost two-thirds of on-the-spot penalties of up to £100. A large number were for acts like ‘unauthorised cycling’, spitting and idling engines.
Josie Appleton, of Manifesto Club, said councils are acting as ‘police, prosecutors, judge and jury’ rollled into one.
But Nesil Caliskan, of the Local Government Association, said the orders are ‘one of a number of ways councils can tackle persistent anti-social behaviour problems’.