Warnings issued after cash demand report

SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins
SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins

A local councillor and a senior council officer have both asked people to be vigilant after someone claiming to be a Derry City and Strabane District Council employee reportedly demanded money from a vulnerable householder because their blue recycling bin had been contaminated with residual waste.

The matter was raised at a meeting of the local authority’s Environment and Regeneration Committee.

Committee chair, SDLP Councillor for the Ballyarnett District Electoral Area (DEA), Angela Dobbins, told members of the committee that she had been made aware that the “vulnerable person” in Carnhill had been approached by someone claiming to represent the council.

The citizen was reportedly asked to pay a penalty charge because they had, it was claimed, contaminated one of the local authority’s blue recycling bins.

Both Colr. Dobbins and the council’s Head of Environment, Conor Canning, said this would never happen under council rules and practices and urged anyone who suffered such an approach to contact waste services immediately.

Colr. Dobbins said: “I wish to state that DC&SDC workers do not and will never ask for money on a doorstep.”

Mr. Canning confirmed that this was the case and said that staff from the local authority would not under any circumstances ask a citizen for cash.

A spokesperson for D&SDC confirmed that officers were aware of the incident and that the matter has been reported to the PSNI.

“We would like to reassure members of the public that Council staff never under any circumstances directly approach householders for money.

“Anyone who has been approached in this manner is advised to get in contact with the police immediately.”