A woman who left two sofas on the street outside her home has been left hundreds of pounds worse off and with a criminal record.
Julie Stephenson, 31, of Newton Aycliffe, was given a fixed penalty notice by Durham County Council but failed to pay it and was prosecuted as part of the authority’s Operation Stop It environmental campaign.
Newton Aycliffe magistrates heard on Monday how a council neighbourhood warden saw two sofas on the street outside Stephenson’s Pateley Close home on May 3.
The warden spoke to the defendant who initially said she had found the sofas outside her home the previous night.
However Stephenson then claimed she had arranged for the sofas to be collected by the council but that this had been cancelled due to driver sickness.
A check was made and no record was found of a collection request. The fixed penalty notice was issued but not paid.
Stephenson was charged with depositing controlled waste otherwise than in accordance with an environmental permit.
She pleaded guilty in court and cited personal problems, telling magistrates she is of good character.
Stephenson was fined £100 and ordered to pay costs of £130 and a £30 victim surcharge.
Operation Stop It sees the council work with Durham Constabulary, the Environment Agency and CrimeStoppers to tackle the illegal dumping of waste by taking action against offenders and educating people on how to dispose of it responsibly.
Ian Hoult, the council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “Most do the right thing and it is easy to get rid of waste.
“People can take bulky items to our household waste recycling centres free of charge but if they are unable to for any reason, they can contact us and we will come and collect them for a small fee.
“Anyone who allows someone else to take items should ensure they are going to be disposed of legally.
“This case really shows what can happen if people do not pay fixed penalties and we hope the legal bill and criminal conviction Ms Stephenson finds herself with will serve as a warning to others.”
For more information on how to dispose of waste, visit www.durham.gov.uk/recycling