A 79-year-old Staten Island man who has benevolently cleaned up the trash of strangers for years is being fined by the city, after he fell ill and was unable to continue picking up the junk.

“I cleaned up the neighborhood, and I’ve been here over 50 years,” said Annandale resident Russell Anstett, who "canvasses the sidewalks of his corner-lot property on Drumgoole Road East to pick up the previous night’s collection of detritus: bottles, cans, pizza boxes and coffee cups" tossed out by passing motorists. When Anstett went in for a biopsy and missed his entirely volunteer pickups, which usually fill two to three trash bags a week, he was hit with a summons for litter outside of his home. Less than a month later, he received a second one.

“Let’s face it, I can’t do it all the time. I have problems,” said Anstett, who recently underwent triple bypass surgery. “I had 40 stitches in my leg—20 in my chest. They broke my chest open. There are just days I couldn’t get out there, and they came around and gave me a ticket.” One homeowner we spoke to wasn't surprised by the story: "Litter tickets—which renting New Yorkers never deal with—are the worst! Once a cop notices the slightest bit of trash on your sidewalk he'll ticket you for it and then come back every day for weeks ready to write up the slightest infraction. I once got a ticket because the garbage men decided not to pick up the trash on my block and I hadn't yet woken up to bring it back inside (that one I fought and it was later dismissed)."

A Sanitation Department spokeswoman said that Anstett could present medical bills to the Environmental Control Board proving that he was unable to sweep his sidewalk.