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Man in court after taking old biscuits from bin

The Local · 10 Jan 2012, 08:17

Published: 10 Jan 2012 08:17 GMT+01:00

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The 52-year-old man from Lower Saxony was initially fined €125 – an estimated five days’ of his money, seeing as he has no job and does not claim social support.

But he challenged the verdict, saying he was being criminalized for surviving, and the case was continued in Lüneburg District Court on Monday.

“I am poor and live from bins,” said the man, who has not been named by German media, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday.

“I did not claim Hartz IV [social support] because the disrespectful treatment in the social office shocked me.”

Prosecutors offered to drop the case if he would admit trespassing on the fenced-in property of the bakery where he had found the biscuits. He refused, and so the case will continue.

Story continues below…

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:25 January 10, 2012 by kooljesh
Complete waste of time and money !!!!!! Just leave this poor man alone , guess he has already things to worry !!!!
09:58 January 10, 2012 by derExDeutsche
Ah. SO kind of @kooljesh to volunteer to fund the daily clean up for Herr Lower Saxony Dumpster Diver and his Kumpels.

More likely, this cost is factored into everybody's price of bread. Soon there will be laws against throwing 'Old food' into the dumpsters. or You might poison Herr Lower Saxony.
10:01 January 10, 2012 by Jibzy
Imagine how the prosecutors sleep. The lawyer advocating punishment for a poor man who has NOTHING and has caused no harm to the bakery. The owner of the bakery who feels insulted that a hungry man could recieve his nutrition from waste. Weird weird world.
10:50 January 10, 2012 by dxlman
It's a shame to see life in Germany is just as stupid as in the UK.

This poor man has simply taken biscuits that would have been thrown away. So why do the jobsworths have to prosecute him, for eating waste?

There is no compassion in the world anymore!
11:55 January 10, 2012 by jg.
"It's a shame to see life in Germany is just as stupid as in the UK."

A number of restaurants in London (including some of the most exclusive ones) operate schemes to give away spare food at the end of business each night. Homeless people turn up at prearranged times at the restaurant trade entrances to receive whatever is leftover.

A number of British supermarkets give away their out of date goods to charities, to be distributed to those who have trouble making ends meet.
13:10 January 10, 2012 by Navigator_B
The bakers could have donated their out of date bread and biscuits to the Tafel charity and could have written the value off their own taxes. They must have thought it was easier just to throw it away than to arrange to have it collected, but they don't seem bothered by the effort and expense in suing a homeless man.  
15:40 January 10, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
This should never have become a court case.

According to German law, it can be argued that by throwing something away, you give up possession of it ("Besitzaufgabe") and show that you have no interest in continued ownership. It thus becomes a "herrenlose Sache", an item without owner, and is free for anybody to take. If you decide to take the said item, it can legally become your property in this case. Which is also why nobody can restrict you from taking what you like from a pile of Sperrmüll in front of somebody's house.

The trespassing charge may be a little more difficult to fight off. But unless the trash cans were on the bakery's property and they had a sign that clearly said "Zutritt verboten" (No trespassing), I believe there can't be a strong case made for the violation of trespassing statutes.

And besides, how cold and heartless can you be... you throw out a packet of expired cookies which you clearly no longer want, but when a starving bum comes and takes it, you don't let him have it... that bakery deserves to go bankrupt so that its owners will know what it's like to starve. I certainly would never buy anything from them again.
17:00 January 10, 2012 by derExDeutsche
This POOR MAN??? He is POOR by Choice! He turned down Hartz IV ...

SO in Germany, anyone gets all the free stuff they want, as long as they choose to be poor. Nice, It is clear then that all the programs created specifically for the poor are now completely unecessary. The 'Poor' will just to to leach off of businesses and the public directly.

SO you will pay for the Poor in your taxes and at the grocery store. The double 'Poor' tax.
13:13 January 14, 2012 by raben
Lets just criminalise being poor and get it over with!
14:23 January 15, 2012 by johnny108
In jail, at least he would have a warm place to sleep, and food that didn't come from a trash can.......................
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