AN Innerleithen man who has dedicated years to helping his neighbours by transporting recyclable goods to the tip feared he was banned after being quizzed by workmen who suspected he was dumping trade waste.

Thomas Cluckie was bemused after being presented with a form to fill out by employees at the Eshiels Recycling Centre and presented it to Scottish Borders Councillors at a meeting of Innerleithen Community Council this week.

For more than four years Mr Cluckie has been uplifting unwanted goods and waste and taking it to the tip for his elderly neighbours in George Street.

He said: “I went in on Friday with my van and one of the workmen came out and said ‘you’ve been clocked’ and I was given a form to fill out. They think I am maybe a business, but I just do it voluntary for the elderly people in my street. They said I was going in too often. I’d just like to know do I continue using Eshiels or am I banned?”

Scottish Borders Councillor Stuart Bell told the meeting of a similar situation encountered by a Clovenfords resident.

“There was an individual there who helped people in the community by clearing gardens and he experienced the same thing because of the frequency with which he was going in with a trailer, and therefore there was a conclusion that he was taking trade waste in.

“We contacted the relevant officer and we needed to pass on his identity and the vehicle details in order for an exemption to be made.”

Councillor Bell said the document given to Mr Cluckie suggested he would need to pay trade waste charges, but he assured him that an exemption would apply and asked him to provide his details to make sure this was carried out in order for him to continue his charitable work.

He added: “We believe that our communities thrive as a consequence from the activities of people like yourself looking after your elderly neighbours.”