Zero tolerance used to apply to yobs, vandals and petty criminals, however some Councils are now applying it to those most desperate of hardened criminals, those despicable people who leave wheelie bins on the pavement too early, put the wrong items in a recycling container or over-fill the bin so the lid doesn't sit flat.
However, unless you "come clean" and admit it was you then proving who is responsible for “illegal” rubbish is turning into a legal minefield. Plymouth City Council recently spent over £6,000 in a failed attempt to prosecute a woman for putting the wrong items in her recycling bin. In Court it was argued that the Council couldn't prove beyond reasonable doubt that the woman was personally responsible.
If you put out your bin and someone adds extra items into it while it is stood by the roadside then is that your fault? "The lid was down when I put it out Governor!" would seem to be an acceptable defence in Court. Of course once we are all under 24 hour CCTV Surveillance then the tapes will show just how full your bin was.
Plymouth Council now want every household to nominate a “bin manager” to agree to monitor their rubbish and be responsible for ensuring all regulations are complied with. The legal advice is not to sign anything! The Council would be able to use a signed agreement in Court to claim the Bin Manager had accepted responsibility. If you refuse to sign the Council still has the legal responsibility to collect your rubbish, after all you pay your Council Tax don't you?