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Fly-tippers could have their cars seized and crushed as Medway Council gets tough on culprits

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A Kent council has become one of the first in the country to target fly-tippers by confiscating, and in some cases crushing, their vehicles.

Medway Council has announced the measures following a surge in fly-tipping cases across the south east.

There were more than 3000 incidents of fly-tipping in the area last year.

Those cases led to just 12 prosecutions and 62 fixed penalty fines being issued to culprits in Medway.

If it makes our countryside cleaner, then I will come here as many times to watch this process and make no apology for it at all."

– Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council

Councils criticised

The new crushing scheme is being run as a joint project between the council and Kent Police.

It's hoped it'll apply more pressure on fly-tippers and waste disposal gangs.

But as Medway cracks down on them, other local councils have been criticised for making it more expensive to dispose of waste legally.

East Sussex County and Kent County Council have introduced charges of up to £4 for bags of rubble and hardcore, while disposing of plasterboard will cost £6 a bag.

Critics have argued this will only trigger a further rise in fly-tipping.

But Kent County Council the price rises haven't proved a problem for other county councils.

The authorities we've spoken to have all said it has not led directly to an increase in fly-tipping in their area."

– Cllr Mike Whiting, Kent County Council

Kent and Sussex councils are thought to be considering their own crushing measures as a deterrent, if the Medway project proves successful.