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French mayor returns Christmas rubbish to owners

A mayor in Brittany has become the latest official to send an illegally-dumped pile of rubbish back to its owner.

Arnaud Lécuyer, mayor of Saint-Pôtan in Côtes-d'Armor, became irritated at a pile of rubbish dumped anonymously in the town centre, and decided to investigate the perpetrator.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Lécuyer said that a local address was visible among the pile of boxes, gift wrapping, food leftovers and other household waste, prompting the mayor to return the rubbish to its rightful owners.

In a letter accompanying the return, Mr Lécuyer included a photo of the waste, and wrote: “Over this holiday season, I suppose that these boxes, wrapping paper and leftover food fell off Father Christmas’ sleigh when he was leaving your house.

"To help repair his error, I thought it would be useful to bring them back to you."

The mayor also advised the residents of the opening hours of the local dump, and called on them to display better “civic duty”.

Speaking to local newspaper Ouest-France, Mr Lécuyer said: “I still haven’t heard back from the person concerned. I imagine that they must have been a little embarrassed. This behaviour must stop.”

Mr Lécuyer is not the only Breton mayor to take such direct action against illegal rubbish dumpers in recent months.

In September 2018, Denis Rapinel, mayor of Ille-et-Vilaine, returned a huge pile of household waste - including cardboard boxes, an old office chair, some non-biodegradable plastic bags, and what appeared to be a broken microwave - to a local resident after finding it dumped in the countryside.

Illegal fly-tipping in nature is a growing problem all over France, prompting the government to launch a range of measures to tackle the estimated 80,000 tonnes of excess waste that is dumped in the countryside every year.

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