Outpouring of support for couple fined £1,200 for clearing up rubbish outside their house

11 July 2024, 13:58 | Updated: 11 July 2024, 14:04

Veronika Mike set up a GoFundMe for her and her boyfriend
Veronika Mike set up a GoFundMe for her and her boyfriend. Picture: GoFundMe

By Emma Soteriou

A couple who were fined for cleaning up rubbish outside their home have received an outpouring of support.

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Veronika Mike and Zoltan Pinter, from Stoke-on-Trent, started a fundraiser to help pay off the fines they received from cleaning the area.

They say there is a spot on their street that usually has "a lot of garbage around the bins" and so they "voluntarily cleaned" the area to stop rats from appearing.

Mr Pinter took matters into his own hands on April 29, filling a cardboard box with waste and leaving it in the "nobody's bin" - owned by no one in the area.

The box was later thrown to the ground, the couple claim, with authorities discovering it with Mr Pinter's details.

Days later, the pair each received £600 fines for fly-tipping.

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Veronika Mike voluntarily cleaned an area near her
Veronika Mike voluntarily cleaned an area near her. Picture: GoFundMe

The letter from the council read: "This is being issued to you as you failed in your legal duty to transfer controlled waste to an authorised person.

"Evidence has been obtained that the items in the picture provided originated from your home address."

It added: "The allegation is not that you placed the waste at the location, but that you failed in your legal duty when transferring household items.

"It is the legal duty of domestic households to ensure the transfer of waste to authorised persons to stop flying tipping."

Despite reaching out to the council to dispute the fines, the couple were unable to get them cancelled or reduced.

Mr Pinter paid the full fixed fine while Ms Mike is paying £100 in monthly instalments.

The affected garbage area still looks the same, Ms Mike said
The affected garbage area still looks the same, Ms Mike said. Picture: GoFundMe

Following the fine, the pair vowed to never clean their streets again "even if the rats come".

But they have since received an outpouring of support online after setting up a GoFundMe.

As of Thursday afternoon, the fundraiser had surpassed £1,800, despite the target being £1,200.

In an update on Thursday, Ms Mike said: "We can't say enough how much we appreciate your support!"

She added: "I said that I couldn't volunteer to clean again. But you gave me hope!

"A bad experience from decision-makers does not mean that those who can do something should stop.

"I will continue to work so that the environment continues to beautify.

"Zoltan couldn't believe how many people showed their spiritual and financial support.

"It was a very nice and incredible gesture!"

The pair were fined £600 each
The pair were fined £600 each. Picture: GoFundMe

City councillor Amjid Wazir said the matter was considered resolved.

“We remind residents and businesses that fly-tipping is an offence and all perpetrators will be met with a fixed penalty notice,” he said.

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