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'Resident took out wood and threw it': reported assaults against bin collectors

Five incidents of physical assault – including spitting and wood-throwing – against refuse collectors were recorded by Peterborough City Council (PCC) in the last financial year.
brown bin new
Most incidents escalated after bins were rejected because of contamination (Picture: PCC)

Between April 2020 and March 2021, there were five incidents reported by refuse staff as they carried out council duties in Peterborough.

Most occurred when bins were refused due to contamination – when something is in the recycling or garden waste bin that is not accepted by these centres – or bins not being out as required.

In June 2020, a refuse worker reported that they were “grabbed by a resident” when they wouldn’t empty a “contaminated bin” and were then followed by the resident and his friend.

A few weeks later, in July 2020, a resident “took out some wood and threw it” at the refuse collector when they rejected a bin for collection.

A report from a bin collection crew member from September said: “Bin was not out for collection. Resident came in his car, told me to go back, threatened me and spat at me.”

In March, when a refuse collector rejected a recycling bin because of food waste, the resident “was very aggressive and shoved me with his shoulder”.

The other incident was a pedestrian incident; when returning bins, a pedestrian walked past and spat in the face of a refuse collector, proceeding to make antagonistic comments like he was trying to start a fight. The report states that the crew member didn’t respond and “just continued doing his job”.

The definition of refuse collectors as specified by the Freedom of Information request is any employee whose main duties are involved in the collection of rubbish from homes and businesses within the Peterborough local authority.

The council has been contacted for comment.