PEOPLE in the Vale have been given ‘aggressive’ letters demanding up to £400 for alleged fly-tipping – even though they say they’ve done nothing wrong.

Enforcement firm 3GS has written to Barry residents telling them they have “reason to believe” they committed offences such as littering or fly-tipping and that they face fines of between £100 and £400.

But some residents say they have not been provided any evidence for their alleged offences – despite requesting this from 3GS.

The 3GS letters offers people the “opportunity” to pay the fines within 28 days, but residents say there are no details on how to appeal.

Residents have also told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) they have been sent follow-up letters by 3GS threatening court action if they don’t pay the fines – despite having received no evidence for what they were supposed to have done.

3GS’s contract with the Vale council runs out in October and from next month the council is to bring the service ‘in-house’ and employ the firm’s current enforcers in the area.

Katie James, of Court Road, Barry, was given a £100 fine from 3GS after an enforcement officer found her address in a black bag outside her property.

She said she had left the black bag on the kerb as the council had missed the collection – and she had done the same for the four years she has been living there.

She said: “There’s no way to appeal. There’s nowhere to write to to appeal or to give reasons. They have not given me any information.

“The council didn’t take our black bags. We have always been told to keep them out there for collection.

“If I have done something wrong give me a chance to explain. It’s frustrating that I’ve done what I thought I was supposed to do and been penalised for it.

“It’s the forceful way it’s done. There’s no way of arguing with them. If an elderly person got that I’m sure they would be terrified.

“They are just looking for ways to fine people without being fair about it.

“If they had my address we should have had the opportunity to bring the bags back inside. It’s incredibly unfair not to be given the opportunity to put things right.”

The LDRS has also spoken to people given £400 fines from 3GS for alleged fly-tipping – and had letters threatening court action if they don’t pay.

In one case a Barry woman was accused of fly-tipping – she says wrongly – in the street where she goes to work.

In another case another Barry woman was given a fly-tipping fine as she was accused of placing five black bags on a grass verge. She told the LDRS that she put the waste out on the kerb as the bin men don’t go down her street.

Along with a letter sent to the woman 3GS produced pictures appearing to show the black bags placed mostly on the kerb but only just touching the edge of the grass verge.

In a complaint sent to a Barry councillor the woman said: “I felt under pressure to pay but decided there would be no way we would pay that sum of money for putting out or two rubbish bags.”

Councillor Leighton Rowlands said he’d been contacted by five residents who have received these fines in the past three weeks. They include a man with cerebral palsy and an elderly woman who felt pressured into paying the fine, he said.

Cllr Rowlands said: “The letters are very direct. It’s quite aggressive and there’s no offer of any evidence.

“When residents are asking for evidence they are not presented with any evidence. They are getting a follow-up letter saying if you don’t pay it we will increase the fine and we will take you to court. ”

Cllr Rowlands said the 3GS officers should be given training before they are employed by the council when it takes over the service for the letters to be less aggressive and for evidence to be provided with any penalty notices.

“I can’t imagine how an elderly lady or man would feel getting an enforcement letter,” he said. “They are paying it out of fright.”

Vale council operational manager for neighbourhood services and transport, Colin Smith said: “These issues involve our partners 3GS, who provide an environmental enforcement service on behalf of the council for offences such as littering, dog fouling, graffiti and fly-tipping.

“We will be seeking clarification on the circumstances of these cases before responding to the individuals concerned directly.”

The LDRS has approached 3GS for comment.