A SHOPKEEPER has been fined £180 by Southend Council for NOT producing commercial rubbish.

Mark Howard, 50, owner of Sutton Cycles in Sutton Road, Southend, has recycled all the cardboard boxes his new bikes arrive in by using them when he sells second-hand bikes.

He only has a small amount of cardboard left, which he takes home for bedding for chickens.

Mr Howard was astonished when a council official visited to check his waste disposal credentials. The officer refused to believe he did not produce any waste and he was issued with a £180 fixed penalty notice, which if he doesn’t pay within ten days, will be increased to £300. If he fails to pay that he will face court proceedings.

The father of four, who lives with his wife Karen in Archer Avenue, Southend, said: “The council doesn’t provide a recycling service for businesses. You have to pay private companies a lot to do that and there are none round here that I know of.”

Most businesses are given a certificate from council waste contractor Cory when they pay for waste bags or have theirbins removed. But as Mr Howard did not use the service, he could not produce one. Mr Howard said he will refuse to pay the fine unless the council proves he has done something wrong.

Steven Crowther, group manager for waste at Southend Council, said Mr Howard was required to produce evidence of how he disposes of commercial waste.