A campaign to stop flytipping has sparked a positive response from County Durham public after it emerged more than 460 incidents were investigated in December.
As part of Durham County Council’s Operation Stop It, officers responded to 462 reports of waste being dumped illegally throughout the month and 18 CCTV cameras were set up at flytipping hotspots in order to gather evidence to use for prosecution.
Following investigations, seven duty of care letters were sent to people reminding them of their responsibility to dispose of waste properly, two flytipping cases were progressed for prosecution, one warrant was issued for arrest and one case was awaiting a court date.
Operation Stop It sees the council work with Durham Constabulary, The Environment Agency and Crimestoppers and was launched in November 2014. It is the biggest crackdown on the illegal dumping of waste ever seen in the county.
The campaign also aims to remind householders that they are legally responsible for ensuring that anyone they use to dispose of their household waste – including furniture, household appliances and building materials – is properly registered with the Environment Agency as a waste carrier. Businesses are also reminded of their responsibility to check that the licences of the waste carriers they use are correct.
Meanwhile, throughout December the council’s neighbourhood protection team issued 34 fixed penalty notices – 30 were for littering, one was for dog fouling and three were for flytipping.
The neighbourhood protection team is tasked with combatting crimes against the environment, which include flytipping, dog fouling, stray dogs, littering and antisocial behaviour.
The team also handed out 47 community protection warnings – warning letters – and 14 community protection notices to properties with untidy gardens and yards. The notices give recipients 28 days to address the problem or face further action.
The taskforce responded to 27 reports of antisocial behaviour and it was called to 117 incidents passed from police airwaves, while 40 alcohol seizures from underage children were carried out.
Ian Hoult, neighbourhood protection manager, Durham County Council, said: “While prosecution is always a last resort, we take all enviro-crimes extremely seriously and will not allow the minority to spoil the environment for visitors and all those who do respect where they live and work.
“We work closely alongside Durham Constabulary, Crimestoppers and the Environment Agency to tackle flytipping and we regularly carry out stop and check operations to make sure all waste carriers are licenced. CCTV cameras are also proving to be an effective tool by providing robust evidence to help successfully prosecute those who dump waste.
“The message is clear – we will not tolerate enviro-crimes like flytipping in our county and anyone found to be committing these offences will face action.”
People are also being reminded about the importance of having their dogs microchipped so they can be traced and returned to their owners if they are lost after wardens removed 124 stray dogs throughout the month.
Residents can take their household waste to their nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) or arrange a bulky waste collection from the council by calling 03000 261 000. More information is available at www.durham.gov.uk/HWRC.
Enviro-crimes can be reported by calling 03000 261 000 and unlicensed waste carriers can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.