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Forest Gate campaigner exceeds court fees crowdfunding target

PUBLISHED: 11:49 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:49 15 March 2017

Litter campaigner Karl O'Keeffe has exceeded his target to raise money towards court costs.

Litter campaigner Karl O'Keeffe has exceeded his target to raise money towards court costs.

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A crowdfunding page set up to fund a court case against Newham Council exceeded its target within three days.

Litter campaigner Karl O’Keeffe decided to take the council to court claiming they failed to deal with an “epidemic” of stickers advertising women’s names and mobile phone numbers on street furniture in Shrewsbury Road.

On Saturday Karl, from Forest Gate, launched his appeal to pay the £452 fee to take the council to court in a bid to get Stratford Magistrates’ Court to impose a litter abatement order “forcing them to address the issue of prostitution stickers”. By Monday the teacher had reached his target.

“It’s clearly something people are unhappy about and an action they are happy to get behind,” the 36-year-old said.

To date, 33 supporters have donated £482 towards Karl’s cause with single donations ranging from £2 to £50.

Karl added: “I’m doing this because I care about this community and clearly other people do as well.”

In total, Karl hopes two orders will be imposed by magistrates - one at Shrewsbury Road and a second at Plashet Park where he claims food dumping has not been dealt with adequately.

“Hopefully, this action will force the council to take the issue more seriously,” said Karl, who is now waiting for a date before he presents his claims and photographic evidence to the court.

If the council are found liable, then it could face a bill of £2,500 for each location and for each day the problems remain.

Thrilled by the support he has received, Karl explained that if he wins his case he can apply to have his costs repaid and if that happens he will repay his donors.

“To lose the case would be absolutely terrible,” he said. “But it’s great I’ve got support. It’s humbling really.”

In a previous statement, a Newham Council spokeswoman said street cleansing teams are tackling the problem head on, with targeted operations to wipe the stickers off street furniture.

“But the problem is persistent and very hard to police,” she added.

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