Elderly Man Who Tried To Donate Books To Salvos Fined For Littering

Dan Alessio, a 78-year-old hairdresser, left a box and two shopping bags of books outside a Melbourne Salvos store, only to be handed a $322.38 fine by the council for littering.

Alessio was caught on CCTV leaving the items outside the Fairfield store early on March 6 of this year.

He received the fine a month later and wrote back to the council in an attempt to appeal the fine -- but (the appropriately named) Darebin City Council has persisted and determined after 10 weeks that Alessio has to pay up.

The council determined that there were clear signs outside charity stores instructing people not to dump items.

Source: AAP Photos.

According To Darebin Council's by-laws instituted in 2015, 'Litter Investigation Officers' are authorised to issue heavy on-the-spot fines to offenders and donating to charity stores is specifically mentioned under this subsection of the website.

The Salvation Army also have instructions on their website instructing customers to deliver donations during business hours so goods can be safely received.

Aífe O'Loughlin, customer experience manager at the Salvation Army, said that there is also a free home collection number for people who can't make it into a store.

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O'Loughlin said that the organisation works with local communities "to ensure no goods are left outside our stores when we are closed, meaning donations don't get damaged or stolen and can be used to raise funds for the people in need of assistance across Australia."

Pile of clothes. Photo: Getty

Items left outside the store that can't actually be sold allegedly cost the Salvation Army millions of dollars every year to throw out responsibly.

Alessio said the fine was excessive and he is stressed at the prospect of having to work for a full week to generate the money.

"I should have thrown it in the bin," he said.

Op shops and charity stores have reported experiencing an increase in donation dumping this year following the release of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix.

General manager of Lugar Brae Uniting Church in Bronte in Sydney's east, told 10 daily earlier this year that the Kondo-inspired donations that were dumped next to the charity bin outside the church "get rummaged through, scattered and become waste, which becomes problematic rather than helpful".