1. ITV Report

Durham County Council clamps down on Christmas fly-tippers

By Kris Jepson

Durham County Council is warning people they could face investigation and prosecution if they are caught fly-tipping during the Christmas holidays.

The warning comes after the successful prosecution of Robert Stephenson, 25, from Chester-le-Street. He pleaded guilty to fly-tipping and was fined £320 after being caught on camera dumping carrier bags of waste, cardboard and wood from a white van on land near Beamish Boarding Kennels.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

In England there were 950,000 fly-tipping incidents in the last year and in County Durham alone, the council has dealt with more than 7,800 incidents.

Ian Hault is the council's neighbourhood protection manager. He said the latest prosecution should send out a clear message to any potential fly-tippers.

We're going to work tirelessly to make sure we continue to tackle fly-tipping. For that person, I'm saddened that that waste had to be dumped. I think it was lazy in terms of what they were doing. There were tips that were available that weren't that far away. Hopefully they've learnt their lesson.

– Ian Hault, Durham County Council

In November 2014, Durham County Council launched Operation Stop It, a campaign to tackle fly-tipping in partnership with Durham Constabulary, Crimestoppers and the Environment Agency.

Fly-tippers Credit: ITV News

Since 2015, they have deployed 24 covert cameras 365 times across the county, which has on some occasions led to prosecutions.

In the last three years Durham County Council has:

  • Deployed cameras at 365 locations
  • Prosecuted 83 people for fly-tipping
  • Fines, costs and compensation totalling £45,016
  • Carried out 151 stop and search operations
  • Issued 23 Fixed Penalty Notices for fly-tipping
  • Issued 56 Fixed Penalty Notices for waste carrier offences
Fly-tippers Credit: ITV News

The Campaign to Protect Rural England says people should act responsibly when it comes to disposing of waste during the Christmas period.

I think when people are under a bit of pressure to get rid of wrapping paper and stuff like that, and the tips may be closed, I would simply say, hang on to your bits and pieces from Christmas, dispose of them in a responsible way. Especially at Christmas let's try and keep our countryside clean.

– Les Ashworth, CPRE