A MUM-of-two was terrified of being fined or taken to court after her bins kept getting stolen.
Luisa Collins, 43, had three general rubbish bins nicked after putting them out throughout the year and had to pay around £20 a time to get a new one.
She suspects a nightmare neighbour in Middlesbrough has been taking them to use for herself because the latest one to go missing mysteriously got put out by someone else on last week's collection day.
Luisa, who has been signed off work for life because of disability, had already told the council she needed a new bin so claims she contacted them to let them know she found it.
But she was horrified to receive a letter warning her to buy a new bin within 28 days or face a fine or possibly a court appearance.
The council has since clarified that any fine or court appearance would be the result of fly-tipping if rubbish was left out in bags after the stated period.
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Middlesbrough Council's website says that fines can go up to £200.
Luisa told The Sun: "Every time I put my bin out it gets stolen. I can't put it out every week because I'm too ill so I only put it out sporadically but it always gets stolen.
"I've got my bin back now but even if I hadn't I'm not going to keep buying one.
"If I put my bin out every week, I['d end up being charged £20 a week! I'm on disability allowance – I can't afford it.
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"Earlier this week I had the letter come through. I was so upset and nervous. What if I get taken to court?
"I started to panic. It's ridiculous. I only got my other bin back because I got up early and saw it out with all the other ones.
"I went out and got it back before anyone else could. It's all a lot of nonsense."
A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: "We can confirm we have had two notifications of a wheelie bin being lost or stolen from this address.
"The first incident in May resulted in the resident paying for and receiving a new wheelie bin.
"In the second incident earlier this month we were advised that the resident would not be paying for a replacement.
"Anyone doing so is advised that they can continue to put out black bags containing their waste for 28 days and that after that time we would only collect refuse in a Middlesbrough Council – any alternative could potentially be seen as flytipping.
"We are pleased to hear the wheelie bin thought to be lost or stolen has now reappeared and can be used once more."
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