A COMMUNITY is outraged after homes received letters sent out in error demanding they pay the council to clear up after flytippers.

Leslie Donovan, of London Road, Grays, is just one of a number of residents who received the letter asking her to pay £123 to clear dumped rubbish from the alleyway behind her home.

She said: “I have been here 27 years and this alleyway has always been targeted by flytippers.

“There’s a huge pile of rubbish that has been there for about a year. It’s nearly 30ft long.

“I have previously complained to the council and they have told me it’s no man’s so it’s not their responsibility to clear it.

“Next thing I know, we’ve all had letters from the council saying we have 14 days to clear it together or they are going to charge us £123 each to remove it themselves.

“I think it’s disgusting. All my neighbours have said they are not paying it. I’m a single mother and can’t afford to pay for something I didn’t do.”

Thurrock Council has since apologised for the letters and said they were sent out in error.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: “Where we make a mistake, it is important to identify it, apologise and take action.

"The letters were sent prematurely and we apologise for any inconvenience or distress these letters may have caused.

"I have asked that letters of apology be sent to all those who incorrectly received the original letter.

“Since the letters were issued we have received information from residents that is being investigated and when that is complete we will of course inform them of our findings.

“The council is responsible for clearing fly-tips on public land and highways – and we spend around £125,000 of taxpayers money each year doing so.

"However land owners are responsible for clearing their own land, and unadopted areas – such as some alleyways – are in general the responsibility of surrounding land owners.

"When piles of rubbish could become a threat to public health steps must be taken to protect the local residents and the public at large.

“We are reviewing the options available to the council to support landowners to address fly-tips in alleyways and I have asked officers to complete this review before the end of the month.”

Letters of apology will be sent to London Road residents from the council.