A GRANDDAD is being forced to spend his life savings to clear 2,500 tyres and 250 tonnes of rubbish dumped illegally on a piece of land he had for a retirement nest egg.
Brian Wilkins (pictured), 64, bought the strip of land for £6,500 25 years ago as a base to run a waste management firm.
When his trade bid was turned down he decided to keep the plot as an investment for his children and left the site as a flat landscape.
Some 25 years on, he received a letter from Hartlepool Borough Council ordering him to clear the site.
But he was stunned when he went to Mainsforth Terrace to discover a mountain of rubble and discarded tyres dumped on the site by flytippers.
Brian said: “When I stopped using the land more than 20 years ago it was flat and level with the road surface. I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it, I didn’t recognise it.”
And now Hartlepool Borough Council is demanding he removes the mountain of trash or else it will pay for the removal, with the bill being added to the deeds of the land.
But Brian says clearing his nest-egg will cost thousands of pounds which he doesn’t have.
He has already spent £1,200 of his pension and life-savings paying removal workers to move about 20 per cent of the junk, which he himself has struggled hauling to the front of the yard for plant machinery to pick up and take away.
And he spends several afternoons and nights a week down at the site, where he once run his business B&B mini-skip hire.
Brian, whose hands are visibly cracked and dirt-stained from the mammoth task, says he was “gobsmacked” at the sheer amount of rubbish when he visited his yard after being contacted by the council over a year ago.
Brian, dad-of-three, from Sheriff Street, Hartlepool, said: “We used to use the land for mini skip hire and wanted to turn it into a waste transfer station but at the time applications to the council were being turned down so we gave up the trade.
“I now have an outstanding order from the council to remove all of the stuff that’s been put there and if I don’t, it will get someone to move it and will put the expense on the deeds of the land so that in the future they will get their expenses back.
“Over the decades there has been about 2,500 tyres, some of them tractor and plant machinery tyres, dumped, along with big solid lumps of concrete and all sorts of household waste which somebody blatantly hasn’t taken there in a wheel barrow.”
He added: “Anything that is now on top is not mine, yet I’m the one who’s now responsible for it.”.
“People say to me, ‘I can’t believe you haven’t been down there for 20 years’ but I had no use for the place any more.
“I was only keeping it for my heirs because one day it might be worth something. I’d heard the odd report that people had dumped things there but I had no idea it was to this extent.
“I’ve been working down there for the last 12 months by myself as an individual and progress is not fast enough for the council. Everybody’s telling me to get rid of it because they fear it will get the better of me at my age.
“I’m moving mountains to try to keep it for my family. I’d just like folk to see what I’m having to do to attain my piece of land which has been targeted by illegal flytippers.
“It’s not right that the landowner should always be held accountable in certain circumstances. If I’d filled the my land by myself then I would deserve the wrath of the authorities.”
Brian says the land, which he cannot currently put a value on due to its state, has also affected his pension, leaving him £35 per week worse off as he had to declare he was a land owner.
In a statement to the Mail Hartlepool Borough Council said: “We are aware that a lot of rubbish has been dumped on land owned by Mr Wilkins in Mainsforth Terrace and we are working closely with him to find a solution to tidy the site.
“Most of the site is securely fenced but there is access on one side which has made it vulnerable to fly tipping.”