By MEL MARTIN
COFFS HARBOUR charities are sick of other people's mess, as everything from mattresses and tyres to dirty nappies and syringes are dumped on their doorsteps.
St Vincent de Paul president Shirley McMullen has seen just about everything dumped in the charity's donation bins.
"It's just dreadful, we're doing the council's work. Charities are really having it tough," she said. "In one month we've taken 20 to 30 loads to the tip. It's costing us a lot of money.
"It's really hard for us. After all, we're here to help people. We have to make money so we can help people, not spend it."
Almost every morning, but particularly Mondays, volunteers are finding rubbish at the front of the St Vincent de Paul shop ? dirty nappies and syringes, broken toys and used mattresses.
"I know it's probably because of tip fees, but that's not charity's fault.
"I don't know what to do, how do you stop it? We've already had to take the Toormina donation bins away."
St Vincent de Paul is not alone.
"For 30 years we've been cleaning people's rubbish," Salvation Army's Margaret Bridgman said.
"It's costing us $15,000 per year to take it away. We could do a lot to help people in this town with $15,000."
Salvation Army volunteers have also discovered just about everything in the donation bins ? even a carpet snake.
Now they're moving to new premises, the Salvos are getting rid of their bins altogether and have installed security cameras so that they don't take their old problem with them.
"It's vandalism at an adult level," Mrs Bridgman said.
"So we're sending the bins to Gunnedah. We've got a free pickup service and people can bring their donations during business hours."
Coffs Harbour City Council offers a twice-yearly free pickup for bulky items for each area, with residents being advised ahead of pickup day.
"People who litter may be sent a clean-up notice which will cost them $320 plus the cost of removal," senior ranger Gordon Polkinghorne said.
"If they don't clear up the mess, they get a failure-to-comply notice costing $750, and then $500 for failing to deal with the clean-up notice.
"In total, people who litter the streets could end up paying $1770."
Council will treat information on illegal rubbish dumping confidentially. Anyone with any information can contact them on 6648 4000.