A Shirley husband has spoken of his outrage after his pregnant wife was fined for flytipping - at a recycling centre.

Rachel Thom, 23, arrived at Monks Orchard Green recycling depot to drop off some cardboard boxes but discovered all the bins were full and overflowing.

She tried to leave three flat-packed cardboard boxes next to the correct bin - at which point, her husband claims, she was approached by a Croydon Council enforcement officer.

Stephen Thom, 25, said: "It was just heaving, so she's literally got out the car and there's nowhere else to put them - three flat-packed cardboard boxes.

"She's made the effort. And then this woman just jumped out and said, 'Do you know what you're doing? You're fly-tipping."

Despite protesting her innocence, seven-months pregnant Mrs Thom was issued with an £85 fine - and threatened with prosecution if she refused to pay.

Since being elected in 2014, the Labour council has made a public point of cracking down on fly tipping with its 'Don't Mess With Croydon’ campaign.

The campaign has included publishing the names of everyone fined for fly-tipping and other littering offences in an online ‘Hall of Shame'.

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Mr Thom, an engineer, said: "Her name is going to be on that, all because she's tried to recycle. It’s embarrassing. It's so wrong. It's £80 for trying to do the right thing.

"I'm not happy, because she got in her face when she's pregnant."

After being given the fine on December 23, Mrs Thom contact Croydon Council to appeal.

But she was told she could face prosecution if she refused to pay - a risk she could not take, because of her job as a primary school teacher.

Mr Thom said: "Fly-tipping to me is putting stuff on the road - not going to a recycling centre. But they're basically saying, pay the fine or lose your job."

Stuart Collins, the Labour councillor responsible for the Don't Mess With Croydon campaign, said: "Your readers will probably think it's a bit harsh, and I have got a bit of sympathy for her, but you have got rules and you have got to stick to them. It does clearly say don't leave stuff outside the receptacles.

"If it had been myself, I know it's a pain but I would think where is the nearest other recycling centre I can use, or can I recycle it at home."

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Coun Collins defended the council's fly-tipping enforcement strategy, likening the tactics to the "broken windows" style of policing.

He added: "One of things about Don't Mess With Croydon - we are tough. And the way things are going, you've got to be."

After being told of Coun Collins' comments, Mr Thom said: "I very much doubt he would go out of his own way to get rid of it somewhere else. He's just saying that because he has to."

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