AN Ardrossan mum who suffers from arthritis has hit out at the council after she was issued with a £250 fine for leaving a cardboard box next to her bin.

Joanne McLaren, 45, was left stunned when she received the letter saying she had been fined a week after refuge collectors had taken away the box, which had been used to deliver her teenage son’s new bike which she got him for his birthday.

And she was further shocked when council chiefs knocked back her appeal after she told them she suffers from arthritis and wasn’t able to dispose of the box into her recycling bin.

Now she could face prosecution if she doesn’t cough up the cash.

Joanne, a part-time supermarket worker, explained: “They said it wasn’t a reasonable excuse.

“I explained to them I had arthritis and it affects my hands, knees, feet, hip, pretty much everywhere.

“I jammed the box behind the lamppost so it wouldn’t blow away. I have done that before like at Christmas and there has never been an issue.

“I received the outcome of my appeal and it says it has not been upheld and it says I can seek advice about payment or it may be referred to the Procurator Fiscal without an option for a second appeal.”

Joanne is now hoping that the council will see sense and re-think their decision on her apparent fly-tipping.

The social work student added: “I can see the point if it is couches or mattresses left in the street but I left my name and address on this box and I would be happy even to pay the uplift fee that the council charge.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “Residents can present clean, dry cardboard boxes (in reasonable amounts) along with their blue bin and this will be uplifted by our bin collection crews, as long as it is not contaminated ie. contains material which cannot be recycled.

“On this occasion, the box was presented along with the resident’s blue bin on March 11.

“However, due to the box containing a number of other items which cannot be recycled, it could not be uplifted for recycling by our waste team. The box and its contents were then left on the street by the resident for over a fortnight which is why a fixed penalty was issued for flytipping on March 25.”