Nail the Peterborough flytippers... but use some common sense

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

No ifs, no buts, flytipping is one of the scourges of this city. Peterborough City Council is absolutely right to prosecute any fly-tipping suspect with the full force of a sofa being dropped from a third floor flat.

There’s an “if” coming – if it finds the evidence. There’s a “but’’coming – but the law needs to be applied fairly.

That doesn’t seem to be what has happened in the case of builder Alfie Green.

He has been hit with a £300 fine after leaving a pile of neatly stacked fencing in a street in Ravensthorpe.

Mr Green contacted the PT – not the normal action of a guilty man – to protest about his treatment.

He told us he had injured his arm (he will need surgery) while working on the fence. This meant he couldn’t pick up the old panels and donate them to a charity as is his normal practice.

He left the panels for two weeks, which led to an investigation by city council officers. They were obviously not convinced by Mr Green’s explanation and shortly afterwards a hefty fine landed on his doormat.

Mr Green has been very harshly treated here.

Perhaps he should have arranged for the fencing to be cleared soon. But the common sense solution would have been to ask him to move the panels and, if he didn’t, fine him then.

Fly-tipping is a very difficult crime to police and prosecute and that’s backed up by the figures.There have only been 30 successful prosecutions in the past two years while there must have been thousands of incidents of fly-tipping.

I’m sure council officers are under some pressure to halt the tide of fly-tipping and see offenders punished.

However, fining Mr Green might improve their stats but it will do nothing to tackle the modern day menace of fly-tipping.

EDUCATION

I’m not really a glass half empty type of person but I can’t join in the general whooping and hollering from the city council that 91.4 percent of parents got their first choice of primary school. And I don’t think the (almost) one in ten parents who were left disappointed will be overjoyed either.

INDUSTRY

It was great to read in last week’s Business Telegraph about a top award won by Perkins Engines.

My colleague, PT business eidtor Paul Grinnell, reported how engineers at the iconic Peterborough firm are still blazing a trail and had beaten off global competition to land a prestigious Edison Award in New York.

General manager Michael Wright said of winning entry, the Perkins Smart Cap: “There is no device like it, the world’s first low cost engine-specific connectivity device.’’

I am also grateful to Paul for explaining to non-engineerslike me that this meant information about an engine can be sent via a mobile phone!

TRADE

What a splendid initiative by Peterborough man Cocoa Fowler who has set up a company Food For Nought to help those in need. Cocoa has already diverted 100 tonnes of food destined for landfill to charities and community groups.

POLITICS

The Windrush affair is yet another depressing example of why we should never ever trust the people who govern us. It is a shameful chapter in our recent history.

And I resent the apologists who are trying to spread the blame by claiming our poor timid politicians were browbeaten into creating a “hostile environment’’ by a public demanding action on immigration.

I have written in this column on several occasions about the problems caused by uncontrolled immigration, not least in this city, but don’t you dare blame me and others who share that view for Windrush.

Windrush is a result of politicians and senior civil servants not knowing and/or not caring about the difference between right and wrong.

ELECTIONS

The local election campaigns are in full swing and all the parties are trying to convince us to vote for them.

I think the local Tories’ campaign manager must be a Monty Python fan – or at least someone with a sense of humour. That would explain why they have put out some bumf entitled: What has the Conservative council done for Peterborough?

It echoes the famous sketch in the Python movie Life Of Brian with its “what have the Romans ever done for us?’’punchline.

The Tories’ election literature answers its own questions and one answer was the council had provided an “educated city’’. Have they seen the SATs results? They are a joke... just not a funny one.

BUSINESS

The jailing of the shamed directors of Peterborough firm Life Comfort Products sends a welcome message to unscrupulous traders.

Using outrageous pressure sales tactics, the firm caused misery for many of their elderly and vulnerable customers.

The guilty may have turned up to court suited and booted but they are no better, and arguably worse, than the scruffy-arsed scrotes who knock on the doors of old people and rifle through the possessions of their confused victims.