Nature reserve fly-tipper hit by £810 bill

Fly tipping“No more fly-tipping!” – and a bill for £810 – was the firm message from Somerset magistrates for a man who dumped commercial waste at a nature reserve.

It is the most recent example of coordinated action by Somerset County Council and all district councils in the county that is helping to drive down figures for illegal dumping.

Prosecuting solicitor Maria Casey said van driver Florin Marcel Lacatusu, aged 33, dumped rubbish – panelling, floor and insulation from a caravan – by a road near Waterrow, not far from Wiveliscombe.

The waste was thrown down a bank near a stream at Pouch Bridge near Boucher’s Cross in the Hurstone Nature Reserve, a site of riverside ancient woodland and meadow.

The court heard through an interpreter that Romanian Mr Lacatusu, of Rockwell Green, Wellington, had admitted the offence, and said he was sorry and would not repeat it. He was fined £600 for fly-tipping, with £150 costs and £60 victim surcharge fee.

The chair of the magistrates, Mr Simon Warburton, told Mr Lacatusu: “No more fly-tipping!”

Commenting on the case, Cllr James Hunt, Taunton Deane’s environmental services portfolio holder, said: “We live in a beautiful part of the country and we want to keep it that way.

“Let anyone who may be thinking of fly-tipping be in no doubt of the council’s determination to gather evidence and prosecute cases of this environmental crime. Fines can be hefty, so the message is simple – don’t do it.”

In recent months, a series of cases have highlighted that councils, the police and the courts are all taking this environmental crime very seriously, and that both fly-tippers and residents ignoring their waste disposal duty of care face action.

Miss Yvonne Rutherford, of Lisieux Way, Taunton, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £397 for dumping rubbish in Bower Lane, Bridgwater.

After his waste was fly-tipped under Huntworth Viaduct, Wayne Clapp, aged 33, of Catalan Way, North Petherton, was fined £150 with a £20 victim surcharge for failing to take reasonable measures to ensure the correct transfer of household waste.

Leon Stevens, 38, of St John’s Road, Frome, admitted fly-tipping in East Woodlands and was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 of costs.

The latest prosecution was part of renewed efforts by all Somerset district councils, backed by Somerset County Council, to deter fly-tipping through new equipment, warning signs, newspaper adverts and further training for enforcement officers,

Figures for fly-tipping in Somerset fell 497 or 8.7% from 5,687 to 5,190 between 2011/12 and 2012/13 and continued to fall in 2013/14.

A Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) spokesman said: “There is no excuse for fly-tipping, which is a serious environmental crime.

“All councils in Somerset are working together to drive down fly-tipping and deter, catch and convict fly-tippers.

“Everyone has a duty of care to ensure their waste is properly handled by licensed traders and sent to a place that can legally take the materials.

“No one should excuse the crime of fly-tipping for any reason, and every resident in Somerset can take action to deter or catch criminals.

“That can range from always checking that anyone taking away their waste – builders to man-and-van traders – has a waste carrier licence, to reporting and giving evidence against dumpers.”

Since 1 April, five of Somerset’s busiest recycling centres – Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil – have been open 8am-4pm seven days a week.

Details of all recycling sites, their opening hours and the materials they take can be found on the SWP website at http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/sites/opening or by calling Somerset Direct on 0845 3459188.

Business directories list legitimate companies that provide waste services.

For more information on how to fight fly-tipping, see: http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/more/fight-fly-tipping/