A WOMAN was taken to court for fly-tipping after she left a cardboard box next to a recycling bin.

Council officers pounced on Lynne Doyle, 59, last October after CCTV caught her wedging the box between two specialised bins near Somerfield supermarket, Wickford.

The grandmother-of-two claimed the washing machine box wouldn’t fit inside, so she placed it between the bins to make sure it didn’t blow away.

Mrs Doyle described what followed as “six months of hell”. She was given a £300 fine by Basildon Council and taken to court.

Her ordeal came to an end when the council wrote informing her the case against her had been dropped – giving no apology or explanation.

Furious Mrs Doyle, who owns fancy dress shop, It’s My Party, in Wickford High Street, said: “I was trying to do the right thing and recycle and then I’m accused of flytipping. It’s just not me.”

Mrs Doyle first knew she was in trouble when she got a card from the council asking her to call about an “incident”. Environmental officers turned up at her shop and handed her a £300 fine notice, which she threw in the bin.

At the time Mrs Doyle was looking after her dying mum, Dilys, who passed away in December, and her pregnant daughter Carly.

She said: “I felt bullied by the officers. They were very heavy-handed.

“Mum was ill and I had more important things to worry about.”

In March, Mrs Doyle received a letter charging her with “depositing controlled waste” and summoning her before magistrates.

She requested the case be tried at crown court before a jury. Then last week she was told the case had been dropped.

She said: “They’ve never said why and they haven’t apologised.

“What a waste of time and money. I’ve lost at least two days work through this from closing the shop and I’ve spent money on solicitors’ fees. I doubt I’ll get any of that back.”

BASILDON Council has defended its decision to prosecute.

The council claims Mrs Doyle originally told officers the cardboard box was trade waste and not domestic waste and this is why they pursued her through the courts.

When they realised it was domestic waste, they dropped the case.

Gary Edwards, head of street scene at the council, said: “Mrs Doyle was issued with a fixed penalty notice for dumping trade waste and, under caution, initially confirmed to council officers this was the case.

“At a later hearing, Mrs Doyle declared in court this was not commercial waste, but domestic waste. Following this disclosure the council decided not to pursue the case any further."

Mrs Doyle denied the allegation and said: “That is rubbish. I never said it was commercial waste. What kind of commercial waste does a party shop produce?”