Man fined $322 after donating books

A Melbourne man is regretting donating a box of old books instead of throwing them out after he was slapped with a huge fine from his local council.

Dan Alessio, 78, was baffled when he received a $322 fine for littering after leaving the box of books outside a closed Salvation Army store in Fairfield.

The part-time hairdresser decided to drop the items off on his way to work in March.

The Darebin council used CCTV footage to identify his number plate in order to track him down and hand him the huge fine a month later.

After receiving the fine, Mr Alessio wrote to the council to appeal the penalty and explain it was a "genuine mistake".

Dan Alessio was fined hundreds of dollars by council when he donated books to the Salvation Army. Picture: Ellen Smith
Dan Alessio was fined hundreds of dollars by council when he donated books to the Salvation Army. Picture: Ellen Smith

But ten weeks later the council decided the fine still had to be paid.

Mr Alessio told the Northcote Leader that he wouldn't have left the items if he knew it was illegal.

"My only mistake was not to bring it in when the shop was open," he said.

"I should have thrown it in the bin."

He added that he would have to work all week to earn enough money to over the fine.

The council's by-laws state that "Litter Investigations Officers are authorised to issue on the spot fines" to people caught leaving items outside of charity shops.

"Donations to charity stores can only be donated during the store opening hours," the Darebin Council website reads.

Anyone can be fined for littering if they are caught leaving donations outside of shops. Picture: iStock
Anyone can be fined for littering if they are caught leaving donations outside of shops. Picture: iStock

"Penalties will apply to any person found illegally dumping items outside of the store."

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie told the Leader that the rule was in place to put a stop to people using charity shops as a place to dump their unwanted items.

The Salvation Army website also states that leaving donations outside after opening hours creates a hazard and the items can become damaged.

News.com.au has contacted the Salvation Army for comment.


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