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Byline: Simon Gilbert NEWS REPORTER

A 63-YEAR-OLD man says he's prepared to risk being arrested due to a dispute with Coventry City Council - over a chopped down tree branch.

Frank Duffin was shocked to receive a letter threatening him with arrest for leaving a chopped tree branch on the floor - but claims he had arranged for the council to collect it themselves two weeks earlier. The plumbing and heating engineer chopped down the yucca tree branch which was obstructing the footpath near his home in Allesley Old Road.

He says he contacted the council to see if they would collect it or if he should make alternative arrangements and insists he was informed the council would pick it up.

But a week later he received a visit from one of the council's environment team, and later received a letter accusing him of fly-tipping.

The letter told Mr Duffin he must attend an interview or he would be arrested.

He said: "I was annoyed! If anything they should be issuing me with an apology for the threatening letter. I cut down the branch because it was extremely dangerous and spiky, it was blocking the footpath.

"I rang the council to see if they would pick it up and they said 'no problem' but it wasn't considered urgent.

"I put the cut branch against the wall so that it doesn't block the footpath.

Then the following Thursday a woman from the environment team came around and said they were considering doing me for fly-tipping - I've never fly-tipped in my life."

Mr Duffin has been summoned to a meeting with the council's environment and housing team but he has said he will refuse to attend - despite being told he would be arrested if he fails to turn up.

"I got the letter saying I needed to attend a recorded interview about it and that I could bring a solicitor. It said if I didn't turn up they will arrest me! I'm not intending to go to the interview, why should I? If anyone is responsible for leaving it there it's them.

"They said they were going to pick it up, if they hadn't it would have been gone by now because we would have got rid of it. I haven't done anything wrong." Coun Bally Singh, who represents the Whoberley ward, has now been asked to look into the matter by Mr Duffin. He said: "Hopefully these issues can be resolved in a common sense way."

The city council confirmed it had had contact with Mr Duffin.

But a spokesman said: "We are looking into this matter so cannot comment further at this stage."


DEFIANT: Frank Duffin with the the tree branches he cut
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 21, 2013
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