Man claims he has been ‘hounded by the council for almost a year’ over a discarded cigarette butt after a stranger ‘falsely gave his address’

  • Ian Ball said council bosses have spent thousands of pounds chasing him after a litterbug falsely gave his address as their own
  • Mr Ball told Dudley Council that he was not the Stacey they were looking for
  • The woman was caught dropping a cigarette butt while out shopping in Dudley but when confronted by officers she gave the wrong address

A man has claimed he has been hounded by the council and debt collectors for almost a year over a discarded cigarette butt after a stranger falsely gave his address.

Ian Ball said council bosses have spent thousands of pounds chasing him after a litterbug falsely gave his address as their own. 

Ian, from Codsall, Staffordshire, told Dudley Council, West Midlands, that he wasn’t the woman they were chasing – but the letters and the threats kept coming.

Ian Ball said council bosses have spent thousands of pounds chasing him after a litterbug falsely gave his address as their own

‘They can even see from the electoral roll that she isn’t named as living at our address and their response is that this still isn’t conclusive evidence,’ he said.

‘We have done all the right things, contacting the council, courts and debt collectors and yet the constant harassment from them continues.’

Ian first heard about the littering fine when they received a letter in January this year.

The woman, who gave the name Stacey Ann Lane, was caught dropping a cigarette butt while out shopping in Dudley in December 2020.

However, when confronted she gave officers the wrong address, and since then Ian and his partner have been hounded by officials wanting the fine paid.

The woman, who gave the name Stacey, was caught dropping a cigarette butt while out shopping in Dudley (file photo) in December 2020

However, when confronted she gave officers the wrong address, and since then Ian and his partner have been hounded by officials wanting the fine paid

Ian, a former business owner, said: ‘When the letters for Stacey first arrived we sent them back with ‘not known at this address’ written on the front. However, they kept coming – and once we saw they were coming from the courts we decided to open one, and that’s when it all started.’

Despite proving there was no-one of that name or description living in their home, the legal threats continued.

Ian added: ‘We told the council that there was no one living at our address by the name of Stacey – but they didn’t believe us.

Ian is furious how much of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on one dropped cigarette butt and mistaken identity.

Ian is furious how much of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on one dropped cigarette butt and mistaken identity

He added: ‘It has caused a lot of frustration and annoyance over the last year, as we keep getting threatening letters – all because a woman that we have never met didn’t turn up for her court hearings. We have no idea who Stacey Ann Lane is, but we know that, so far, the council has spent a lot of time and money on this.

‘With debt collectors’ fees and solicitors at Birmingham Magistrates Court the fine must have now cost Dudley Council thousands to chase.

‘The police and courts could be dealing with much more serious crimes – it is awful to see how Dudley Council is wasting taxpayers money.’

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm at Dudley Council, admitted the situation had got well out of hand.

She said: ‘This is extremely concerning and we would ask the couple in question to get in contact with us so that we can help.’

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