Doormat confiscated from outside Hemel Hempstead flat and council demands £40 to recover it

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They thought it must be a neighbour playing a silly prank '“ but a young couple were shocked to find out that their doormat really had been confiscated.

Ashley Tofte and his fiancée Jade Bunce, both 24, arrived home from work to find a note from Dacorum Borough Council (DBC).

It said that the doormat had been removed from outside their Woodhall Farm flat because it is the council’s “legal duty to keep areas clear of hazards and combustible materials” and it can be collected for £40.

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“I couldn’t believe it,” said Mr Tofte, who works as a school caretaker. “I thought one of the neighbours was playing a prank.

“The council said if someone was in at the time, they would have given us the chance to remove it ourselves.

“That quite upset me, because it was as if we were being punished for being at work.”

Mr Tofte has appealed the decision but the council has asked him to collect the doormat before December 21.

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The letter, which was posted through the couple’s door last week, said confiscations of this kind are so that building occupants “can leave the building safely in an emergency.”

A DBC spokesman said: “We can’t comment on individual cases but as a council we have a zero-tolerance clear landings policy in communal areas which we have publicised to our tenants.”