A PENSIONER has hit out at flytippers who cost taxpayers thousands after rubbish was dumped near his home and then set alight.
Former councillor Ted Hall woke up to a large pile of household waste dumped on the country lane, near his house.
Hours later yobs set fire to the pile of rubbish, resulting in a crew from Peterlee Fire Station being sent to the scene, in Shotton Lane, Shotton Colliery.
Durham County Council sent staff to clear up the mess, but Mr Hall says he is angry with the authorities for not doing more to combat flytippers.
But council bosses say they take flytipping very seriously and it has reduced for the last four years.
Mr Hall hit out at flytippers themselves, saying they are often paid to illegally dump waste in unauthorised areas.
The former Passfield ward councillor for Peterlee appeared in the Mail in 2011 fearing plans to close household waste recycling centres in County Durham could lead to increased flytipping incidents.
The centres in Thornley, Coxhoe and Horden have remained open, but on reduced hours.
Mr Hall said: “It’s an expensive job, considering the battle we fought to get the recycling centres to stay open.
“The stuff could have gone there, but these people are being paid to do this, they are just a bunch of gangsters.
“This is not good enough, this costs everybody.
“I want these people prosecuted, it was witnessed, we have got the registration of the vehicle.”
Mr Hall said flytipping was a regular occurrence and he wanted CCTV cameras put in the area.
Ian Hoult, the county council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said flytipping had continually reduced over the past four financial years.
But he added: “That said, we continue to take flytipping very seriously and work extremely hard to combat it, using a range of tactics, including placing warning signs and cameras in hot-spot areas.
“We also carry out stop and search operations with vehicles carrying waste materials.
“Where we find sufficient evidence that someone is responsible for flytipping, we will not hesitate to take them to court.
“We would also encourage residents to play their part in helping tackle the problem by ensuring anyone who removes rubbish from the property has the correct licence to do so and by getting in touch with us if they believe they know who is responsible for flytipping.”
Inspector Dave Coxon, of Peterlee Police, said: “We work closely with Durham County Council in relation to flytipping and share information with them.
“We pass any information on our systems on to them to assist their investigations.
“They prosecute the flytipping and we assist them with that.”