An east Belfast man has defended himself for keeping rubbish in his garden after his habit landed him with an Asbo from Belfast City Council.
Brendan Ross (50) from Dunraven Crescent said he was implementing the council’s own “reduce, recycle, reuse” slogan as he cycled around to salvage items left discarded at recycling centres and rubbish tips across the city.
For about five years he has been putting items, from food to bric-a-brac — including a statue of Oliver Hardy — in the small front garden of the terraced house.
He said he was a victim of council policy.
“They might as well put a ball and chain and a Guantanamo Bay suit on me,” he claimed.
And he hit out at the legal system which made it possible for him to be issued with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. “It was like a kangaroo court,” he said.
There are several bunches of flowers and shrubs in the garden. “I thought the council’s policy was to be green”, said Mr Ross, who lives in the house with his brother William.
But Mr Ross’s neighbour Steven Harvey said Belfast City Council was right to take action.
“I think it is necessary. It’s very difficult to live next door to. Brendan is a nice guy but you can’t expect people to live next door to rubbish.”
He said rubbish had been piled six foot high before much of it had been removed.
Belfast City Council said Mr Ross has already been issued with an interim Asbo for collecting rubbish, which he picked up while travelling around on a bike.
A spokeswoman said: “The Asbo was obtained following a conviction on June 2, after Mr Ross failed to comply with a previous court order to remove items from his garden, including discarded food that was becoming a public health hazard.
“Mr Ross was fined £500 and the council was awarded costs of £69 on that date.”
The two-year Asbo prevents Mr Ross “storing items or materials in a way that is prejudicial to public heath or otherwise so as to cause alarm, harassment or distress to others”.
He is also barred from collecting rubbish from private skips, bins and civil amenity sites, and can only have two bicycles in his possession.