COUNCIL officials have apologised for causing distress to an autistic adult in the county, following a miscommunication over "rubbish and furniture" left outside their property.

The tenant, who the Advertiser has kept anonymous, left a sofa and a washing machine on August 15 on their front garden to be picked up by the council through their Bulky Waste Collection Uplift service.

It had all been paid for by the tenant's mother who had been advised to leave the items at the "nearest point of access… [usually] the front garden of the property” for up to 28 days for collection.

However, the council sent a letter to the tenant's landlord Peter O'Mailley on September 3, saying the mess there could be in breach of the Antisocial Behaviour Act, and urged him to investigate the complaint.

The letter caused the tenant a great deal of stress, according to the mother, with the landlord enraged by the lack of foresight from the council.

Mr O'Mailley told the Advertiser: “This whole thing could have been avoided if someone at the council had just made a phone call and checked. I was like: ‘Is this caused by incompetence?’.”

The autistic tenant walked in on the mother and someone else discussing the complaint, causing panic and distress.

The tenant’s mother said: “I can't describe the damage this has done to my child.

“[He/she] started hitting and scratching themselves because they were frightened. [He/she] didn’t even want me to put the rubbish out in the first place.

“I ended up having to take time off work because [he/she] started trying to bring everything back into the house.

“I had to call family members to help me, and we had to restrain and medicate them because of this.”

It is believed the mess outside the property on Alloa Road, Tullibody, led to complaints from neighbours.

However, it is still unclear whether the council could have checked whether they were responsible for removing the rubbish before issuing a complaint to the tenant's landlord.

After sending an email to the council to tell them about the distress they had caused, the tenant's mum claimed she later received an apology.

She said: "I was contacted at work and they [the council] were really apologetic over the phone."

Mr O'Mailley, who has worked hard to build up a relationship with his tenant and their mother, contacted them to demand an explanation, particularly given his tenant's disability.

In a letter, the council claimed the matter was now closed as Mr O'Mailley had investigated the incident as required.

They added that information about his tenant's health is protected under the law, and is not routinely shared between council departments.

When approached by the Advertiser for a comment, a council spokesperson said: “The letter was sent to the landlord in recognition of his legal duties. However, we would like to apologise to the tenant for any distress this caused.”