Hidden cameras, crushed vehicles and fines - council chiefs say they are 'not messing about' with fly-tipping

Hidden cameras, crushed vehicles and fines – council chiefs have promised they are ‘not messing about’ in their battle against fly-tippers.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 11:45 am
File picture of fly-tipping

Work in County Durham to tackle the problem has been recognised nationally following a six-year fall in reports.

But despite successful stings across the county which have seen offenders fined and their vehicles crushed, bosses say more needs to be done to teach the public about their responsibilities.

“The approach is very important,” said neighbourhood warden manager Richard Brown, “education and awareness is a massive chunk of what we need to do and prevention is much more effective than enforcement.

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“This is good for getting the message out to people that you are responsible for their actions, educates people these things are a crime and tells people we need their intelligence and information.”

Mr Brown was speaking at a meeting of the county council’s Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on November 4

In one incident, a man caught fly-tipping by hidden cameras had been ordered to pay £582 by a court, but had also been made to hand over his van, which was worth about £2,500.

He said: “If we take their vehicle off them they’ve got some explaining to do when they get home.

And he added the council could also seek to have offenders’ vehicle crushed, an option which ‘sends a clear message that we’re not messing about’.

While reports of fly-tipping have been rising nationally, the opposite has been happening in County Durham, when numbers are down almost a fifth since 2013/14.

But Coun Stuart Dunn pointed out figures had ‘plateaued’ since 2015/16 and had also risen slightly in 2016/17, before falling again.

Coun Dunn said: “I feel people seeing more vans being taken off, more people being prosecuted, that is what will make a difference.

Mr Brown said the council was ‘going further all the time’ in attempts to tackle the problem of fly-tipping, even seeking criminal behaviour orders against landlords whose properties are used for fly-tipping.