Norma Gusset, a 95 year-old widow, faces the prospect of a prison sentence today, due to an innocent blunder with her waste recycling.
Apparently, inspectors employed by Birmingham County Council, discovered not one, but two plastic bottles in the bin specifically allocated for glass bottles.
As this was the second error committed by Mrs Gusset, the council issued a fixed penalty notice for £250 in accordance with their strict 'zero-tolerance' policy.
Mrs Gusset admitted to having made a similar error in the past, where she had mistakenly put out her garden waste recycling bin on the day that paper waste was being collected.
'I'm 95 years old', said Mrs Gusset earlier 'and this recycling is just so complicated. I only get a widow's pension and I just can't see how I can afford to pay the fine. I guess I will just have to go to prison.'
A council spokesman said that the policy on waste-collection was quite straight forward and residents would be fined if they persitently ignored the rules. He said that no allowance could be made in view of Mrs Gusset's age as the system had been designed to be simple to follow.
'It's simple to follow', he said. 'The black bin is for non-recyclable rubbish and that is collected throughout the year on a Monday, unless it's a bank holiday when it will be collected on a Tuesday. The green bin is for garden waste and that is collected once every two weeks on a Wednesday, unless that coincides with a Hindu or Muslim religious festival when it will be left until the following week. The blue bin for glass bottles is collected on the full moon when Jupiter is in the ascendance and the clear sacks for plastic bottles and paper is collected when we can be arsed!'
We have learned that Birmingham City Council has issued waste-related penalty notices in the last six months in excess of £2.5 million.