Pensioner handed £767 fine for filling pothole pledges to fight back 'injustice'

A pensioner has warned local authorities they “don’t know what is coming for them” after he was fined for filling a pothole. Claudio Trenta, 72, had reported to various authorities in the small town of Barlassina, in Lombardy, northern Italy the presence of a 30-centimetre hole on a pedestrian crossing.

After waiting for some three months for the hole to be filled, he decided to take the matter into his own hands and fill it with cold bitumen.

Mr Trenta, who is active on social media, took to Facebook to speak about what he had done.

A few days later, he was slapped with a £767 (€882) fine and was ordered to bring back the public space to the state it previously was.

But defiant Mr Trenta has decided to fight back and said he will file a counter-complaint against the council for negligence.

Recalling the incident to Italian daily Corriere Della Sera, Mr Trenta said: “I bought a pack of cold bitumen, I closed the hole in late April and wrote a post on Facebook – basically I reported myself.

“I did it 20 days ago and now I got some €900 in fine. They think they are making my life difficult but they don’t know what is coming for them.”

The pensioner, a former IT technician, added he won’t pay the fine, saying: “How can I pay such a sum after covering up a hole? I filled it, not opened it! They don’t want to teach me a lesson, they are making fun of me.”

Mr Trenta also confessed when he received the fine he was concerned, after reading how much it amounted to, about his wife’s reaction.

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He said: “I smiled, but she got really angry, and told me: ‘You never mind your own business!'”

The astonishing fine caught the attention of many high-profile personalities in Italy, including Vittorio Sgarbi, an undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture.

The politician and art critic wrote on Twitter: “As well as the rules of the road common sense also exists. Common sense should have suggested the municipal police to thank this gentleman.”

Mr Trenta said he isn’t “used to all this publicity”, adding to local publication Monza Today: “I will fight to the bitter end to have this fine cancelled as, in my opinion, it’s an injustice. Why fine me instead of those who knew about the problem and failed to intervene?”

The fine, delivered to the pensioner a few days ago, will now be paid by Italian MEP Angelo Ciocca, a member of the right-wing Lega Party.

Pledging to cover the cost of the fine, Mr Ciocca said: “I think that a citizen who reported an issue and, after probably feeling desperate [by the lack of action], decided to fill it should be thanked.”

Mr Ciocca added he thinks it’s “unfair” to leave such a hefty fine burdening the pensioner after he did a “good action”.