Wirral Council ends deal with Kingdom waste firm

Rubbish in hedgerow
Image caption Wirral Council said its contract with Kingdom had ended by mutual consent

A waste disposal enforcement firm accused of "underhand and aggressive tactics" will no longer be employed by Wirral Council.

The local authority suspended Kingdom's enforcement campaign last month amid claims it was unfairly targeting firms.

A second-hand bookshop owner was fined £300 after Kingdom classed the remnants of her lunch as commercial waste.

Kingdom said it asked Wirral Council to end the deal early as its officers and their families had been threatened.

The firm was employed by the council in 2015 to enforce its trade waste policy.

Cabinet member Anita Leech said the contract was terminated early by "mutual consent".

"We've taken the decision because we've had a number of allegations of underhand and aggressive tactics by Kingdom," she said.

"We've also heard from Kingdom officers about abuse they've received - being spat at, being attacked.

"Overall we're concerned about the general perception of this operation."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wirral Council said it has a problem with trade waste

In November, Liverpool City Council sacked Kingdom over concerns about some of its employees' behaviour.

Kingdom insisted it had only followed city mayor Joe Anderson's instructions.

Business owners in New Brighton have previously told the BBC that Kingdom staff, claiming to be council employees, demanded records about the disposal of items including tea bags and milk cartons.

Wallasey councillor Paul Hayes said the firm had "behaved like bailiffs".

Councillor Leech said the reason Kingdom's enforcement campaign had originally been chosen was because residents had told the council their number one priority was "to keep the streets clean of litter and dog fouling" and it aimed for a "zero tolerance approach".

Kingdom said since the ending of the agreement with Liverpool, the focus of "certain groups" switched to Wirral, "resulting in threats and intimidation against our officers and their families".

It said the firm was "unable to ensure the safety of our staff" so it approached the council to discuss the early termination of its contract.

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