Jan. 17 (UPI) — A woman from West London was fined 80 pounds after pouring a hot cup of coffee down a street drain.
Sue Peckitt, 65, poured the coffee down the drain because she didn’t like the taste and didn’t want to create a “soggy mess” in the public garbage can, she told Get West London.
“I had bought a cup of coffee, it wasn’t very nice and I thought I want to get rid of this,” she said. “So I poured it down the drain and then I started to walk to the bin to put the cup in the bin.”
A group of Ealing council enforcement officers then followed Peckitt and informed her she would have to pay a fine for how she chose to dispose of the beverage.
“The enforcement officers stopped me and said I was breaking the law, then I filled in all the forms and they fined me 80 pounds,” she said.
Peckitt appealed to have the “bizarre” fine reversed shortly after it was issued in November 2016, but was unsuccessful.
“I am astonished by the whole process,” she said. “I think there is a big problem with litter but it is bizarre, I had put this coffee down [the drain] because it was the safe and environmentally friendly thing to do.”
Andrew Wiseman, of environmental law firm Harrison Grant, told the Telegraph the act of pouring the coffee down the drain may have violated laws against introducing “poisonous, noxious or polluting matter” into the drainage system, but agreed it should not warrant a fine.
“If this lady just tipped coffee down the drain, it would be absolutely ludicrous to consider it as an offense,” he said.
The council later investigated the incident and offered Peckitt an apology and a refund on Jan. 13.
“The council has investigated this particular case and will be dropping the fine originally issued,” a council spokesman said. “Our priority is to make sure that the borough is clean and litter free and we apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”