COUNCIL chiefs have warned people could be fined £110 if they fail to put their wheelie away.
Durham County Council warned people could face the hefty penalty if they do not bring their bins in after they have been emptied by refuse staff.
It comes after 759 wheelie bins were lost or stolen in east Durham in the past six months, but council bosses say a fine would be a last resort and none have yet been issued.
Council chiefs say it costs £24 to replace each of the 759 bins, meaning house-holders and businesses had to fork out £18,216 to replace the containers.
Keith Parkinson, Durham County Council streetscene area manager, said: “As part of a wide-ranging operation to raise awareness of environmental issues, we are working in partnership with the police and fire brigade to deal with this problem.
“Residents have received letters encouraging them to bring their bins in after being emptied.
“We always have an education-first approach and ask this on a voluntary basis.
“Enforcing only as an absolute last resort, which is rarely used.
“We have used this approach in other areas of the county and it has been positively received.
“We have not had to issue any fines to date and the number of bins on the streets has reduced.”
l FIREFIGHTERS were called to a wheelie-bin on fire which threatened to spread into a house.
A fire crew rushed to a house in a Keswick Road, Peterlee, at around 5pm yesterday where a wheelie-bin was set alight beside a house that caused a side-window to smash.
No-one was injured.