After travelling to a recycling site, Lynne Doyle discovered the cardboard box she wanted to throw away was too big to fit into the slot of the bin.
As no one was around to help, she carefully wedged the collapsed box between two bins before heading home.
The decision would lead to 'six months of hell' after council busybodies pored over CCTV footage to identify her before accusing her of dumping 'controlled waste', threatening her with a £300 fine and dragging her to court.
It was only when her lawyer advised her to opt for a jury trial at crown court that the local authority suddenly dropped the case.
'They acted as if I dumped a body at the recycling centre, not a cardboard box,' said Mrs Doyle, a 59-year-old grandmother-of-two, from Wickford in Essex.
'Why on earth have they got cameras at recycling points? They are quite happy to take photos of law-abiding citizens and use it against them in court but not where fly-tipping is a real problem.
'They are only interested in chasing people when they think they can get money out of them.'
Fancy dress shop owner Mrs Doyle's problems began on October 3 last year when she took the box from a new washing machine to the recycling point at a Somerfield supermarket near her home.
A few days later she received a letter from Basildon Council demanding she contact them about 'an incident'.
New Labour have passed excessive powers onto local authorities who peek, prod and monitor every aspect of our lives.
The old Soviet block would be proud of the way the states employees push the populace around.
They forget the rule that we pay their wages, they work for us not the other way around. Public services need to be cut, lets start with the worthless Quisling jobsworths who pushed this case.