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What right do Belfast City Council operatives have to search through the black bins of householders?

letter of the day: questioning legality

We regularly hear on the news, or read in our newspapers, about the increasing incidents of identity theft and the need to be vigilant with our personal details and private information.

Indeed, numerous media outlets have been heavily fined in the past for hacking celebrity telephones and some unscrupulous journalists have been caught searching through celebrity roadside waste bins to find any juicy tit-bits of private correspondence to create a sensational story.

With this in mind, what legal right have Belfast City Council waste collection operatives got to search through householders' black bins looking for food waste as per the recent leaflet recently delivered through doors threatening such action?

I am fully aware of the need to reduce the cost to the council of dealing with food waste and it would be desirable that this could be addressed properly.

However, the spectre of 'Big Brother' operatives being allowed to search through the contents of household black bins and possibly reading other private correspondence with identity details contained in them is a worrying development. The elderly, who may not be as vigilant as they should be with the disposal of important private correspondence, are particularly vulnerable to this potential identity theft and could easily be compromised by such action.

I, therefore, ask Belfast City Council to clarify the legality of this bin-searching directive.

CONCERNED PENSIONER

Belfast

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