Rotherham residents fined for eyesore propertiesPublished Tuesday, 29th March 2016
Rotherham Council used new powers to fine two residents after they ignored requests to tidy up their gardens.
This is the first community protection notice prosecution by the Council, using the new powers for local authorities to apply to the courts for sanctions which came in with the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Although the Council has been using the new powers under the Act to deal with a wide range of anti-social behaviour issues, these are the first out of 84 Community Protection Notices served since January 2015 which have needed to progress to Court.
This first prosecution demonstrates some teeth to the legislation and the Council’s approach to protect victims and communities by quickly acting on perpetrators that are causing nuisance or disorder.
Previously councils and other agencies relied on a complex framework of rules that meant that victims often had to wait for months or years to get respite from anti-social behaviour.
The new powers given to councils and other agencies, to work in a co-ordinated way together by the Act, should mean that perpetrators are brought to book earlier and more effectively.
Rotherham residents, David Antcliffe of Cavendish Road, Holmes and Mohammed Afsar of Broom Valley Road, Broom Valley were found guilty in their absence at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court of offences under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 because they failed to clean up their properties.
Mr Antcliffe was fined £200 and ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £345.75 with a victim surcharge of £20 for not clearing up waste furniture in his garden.
Mr Afsar was fined £500, ordered to pay £345.82 in costs and a victim surcharge of £50 for allowing his garden to become severely overgrown that it was considered to be a having a detrimental impact on the appearance of the area and the quality of life for his neighbours.
The Council offered Mr Afsar the opportunity to pay a £100 fixed penalty notice instead of facing prosecution, however he chose not to pay this fine and this resulted in the case progressing to the Magistrates Court.
Councillor Kath Sims, Advisory Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety said: "The Council tried to informally encourage Mr Antcliffe and Mr Afsar to consider the impact of their actions on their neighbours, but they chose to ignore the advice and several warnings.
"Whilst this is low level anti-social behaviour, when instances occur it can be disruptive and upsetting to individuals and communities.
"Taking this action shows that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated, and that we won't hesitate to take action to deal with it, wherever it occurs and whatever form it takes.
"The Council has more powers now to deal with anti-social and irresponsible behaviour which blights our neighbourhoods, and we will use these legal tools to ensure our communities can be attractive places to live and stay."
Of the 700 addresses dealt with for rubbish accumulations since April last year 120 were served with some form of enforcement notice and only six have needed to progress to Court because they failed to work with the Council and clear up their properties.
It is clear that many people feel uncomfortable about reporting anti-social behaviour, for fear of repercussions or reprisals, and these new powers give local authorities the chance to take action using information they have obtained from victims anonymously.
The Council encourages anyone who is concerned about anti-social behaviour in their local communities to report it to our Community Protection Unit and Anti-Social Behaviour Team in confidence.