Money Talk: ‘My neighbor always uses my trash can to dispose of it, is it against the law?’

Someone who uses your trash can without permission is more than a neighbor, it’s illegal, and the offender can be fined or even sued if they break the law in this way

Senior disposes of his household recycling in an outdoor trash can in his garden
Someone who uses your trash can without permission is annoying

Someone using your bin without permission is one of those things guaranteed to get Brits hot.

It can be particularly troublesome to take yours garbage out, only to find that your trash can is already full of a stranger’s trash bags.

While you munch on a bit or two throw Throwing it in a stranger’s trash can is unlikely to cause offense – in fact it does the community a service – there’s something about someone using your trash can like a trash can that can rub us the wrong way.

But using someone else’s garbage can is more than just unfriendly — it’s illegal, in fact.

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A Mirror reader emailed the question: “My neighbor is using my bin to dump his rubbish without permission.

“I know it’s him because I caught him and asked him to stop, but he refuses to apologize and now seems to be doing it on purpose to get under my skin.

“I can’t put the rubbish back in his bin because it’s always full.

“What are my rights in this situation, or do I have to lump it all together?”

Lawyers say it’s illegal to throw trash in someone else’s trash and that the advice can also fine the offender.

Solicitor Paul Britton, of law firm Britton & Time, said: “Dumping rubbish in someone else’s rubbish is an offense as it involves uncontrolled dumping of rubbish, which we call fly-tipping. All types of waste can be fly-tipped, from general household waste to hazardous substances and materials.

“Fly tipping is a criminal activity that can result in serious environmental pollution. In some cases it can pose a risk to human health and will almost certainly harm wildlife.

“If the owner of a bin can identify the dump truck, he will sue him and recover the costs incurred (including reasonable removal, restoration and legal costs) directly from the dump truck.”

Hannah Costley, a lawyer on Slater Heelis’ crime and regulation team, said: “Fly-kipping is investigated by local authorities and the Environment Agency and enforcement can be done by either organization.

“Local authorities can issue fixed fines of between £150 and £400. Fly-tipping cases tried in court can result in the imposition of an unlimited fine or up to five years in prison.”

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Fry Electronics Team

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