Parkhall pensioner Eamon Boyle received a £50 fixed penalty notice from jobsworth Community Safety Glasgow (CSG) enforcement officers after they spotted him momentarily leaving a tissue on a sodden granite seat earlier this year.
The 72-year-old — who suffers from acute arthritis in most of his joints and walks with a stick — stopped for a rest on a bench outside Glasgow Central train station. He was drying the wet public seat but his tissue quickly became soaked.
As Mr Boyle walked towards a near-by restaurant to get paper napkins he was pulled up by plain-clothed officers who accused him of intentionally discarding rubbish.
The OAP’s appeal against the fine was rejected last week — but he has now vowed to fight this all the way.
Mr Boyle said: “I’m no hero, but I’m not paying it. I’m going to court.
“I had no intention to drop litter, it never even came into my mind. This is all totally unnecessary — I just wanted a seat because I’ve got bad arthritis in my hips. They seize up and embarrassingly I’ve got to stop.
“It was a shocker. The important thing is it was a piece of paper and I was using it.
“The seat was very wet and I tried to dry it with some paper tissues from my pocket. The seat remained wet despite my efforts.
“Directly opposite the seat is a restaurant called Pret A Manger. I headed towards it thinking I could obtain some paper towels or napkins.
“As soon as I saw the man walking towards me I knew what was coming. He must have been watching me trying to dry that seat.
“I think the penalty is excessive and I was not given the chance to make reparation by explaining the situation. I had no intention of leaving the paper.” Josie Appleton, director of civil liberties group Manifesto Club, has also criticised the action taken against Mr Boyle.
She said: “It is grossly disproportionate to wield the forces of state against a 72-year-old drying a bench. When somebody has a reasonable explanation for their actions they should be given the benefit of the doubt.” Despite writing a letter to complain about the decision taken against him Mr Boyle received a letter back from CSG — which is jointly owned by Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Police Authority — telling him that Glasgow has a zero tolerance policy regarding litter and that the penalty notice he received was issued “fairly and appropriately”.
The correspondence said the officers involved had been spoken to about the incident and that body camera footage had been reviewed and satisfied CSG bosses that a littering offence had been committed.
Last week a spokeswoman from Community Safety Glasgow defended this stance. She said: “The fixed penalty notice was issued in line with the Environmental Protection Act 1990. We reviewed Mr Boyle’s case and upheld the decision.”