Fly-tipped rubbish cost a Somerset dairy worker £235 in a case highlighting the duty of care every individual and business has over their waste, even after it has left their premises.
Martin James Durrant, aged 48, was fined £120 with £95 costs and a £20 victim surcharge after paying a man £30 to remove his waste, which was later found fly-tipped.
At Somerset magistrates sitting in Taunton on 7 July, Durrant pleaded guilty to a charge of not taking reasonable measures to ensure the transfer of household waste to an authorised person.
The prosecution was brought as part of renewed efforts by Somerset County Council and all district councils in the county to drive down fly-tipping and deter, catch and convict fly-tippers through better cooperation with police, new equipment, warning signs, newspaper adverts and further training for enforcement officers.
Durrant, of High Street, Wellington, who works at Müller Wiseman Dairies, told the court: “I am sorry it happened. I paid a bloke £30 to take my rubbish away.”
The waste was fly-tipped by a road in Rooks Castle near Goathurst in Sedgemoor.
A Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) spokesman said: “Between the fly-tippers and the court, Durrant is £265 worse off; yet the waste could have been taken to a recycling centre for free.
“Everyone has a duty of care to ensure their waste is properly taken by licensed traders to a place that can legally receive the materials.
“Simple steps by Somerset residents can cut off the supply of material being fly-tipped and avoid them ending up on a duty-of-care charge in court.
“Never pay cash for waste removal; get a receipt with full contact details, and note the registration number and description of vehicles and people taking away your waste.
“Ask any trader taking waste – from builders to man-and-van operators – for their waste carrier licence and where the refuse will go.”
Prosecuting for Sedgemoor District Council, solicitor Nigel Osborne said: “Fly-tipping is a serious offence … its blight is not only visual but can often have serious health and safety implications, and the costs of dealing with it are substantial.”
The case was the first in Somerset since new guidelines on sentencing for environmental crimes were introduced on 1 July.
Check the SWP website for details of recycling sites, opening hours and materials taken or call Somerset Direct on 0845 3459188. Business directories list legitimate waste service companies.
In April, five of Somerset’s busier recycling sites – Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil – began opening 8am-4pm seven days a week.
For more information on fighting fly-tipping, visit: http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.
Recent duty-of-care prosecutions: June, Leanne Beard, aged 24, of Pixton Way, Dulverton, fined £50 with £30 costs and £20 victim surcharge. May, Nicola Watson, 34, Sunnymead, Bridgwater, fined £73 with £20 victim surcharge and £95 costs. February, Wayne Clapp, 33, Catalan Way, North Petherton, fined £150 with £20 victim surcharge.
Recent fly-tipping prosecutions: April, van driver Florin Marcel Lacatusu, aged 33, of Rockwell Green, Wellington, fined £600 with £150 costs and £60 victim surcharge for dumping rubbish into a nature reserve. January, Leon Stevens, 38, St John’s Road, Frome, conditional discharge with £250 costs. November 2013, Yvonne Rutherford, Lisieux Way, Taunton, fine and costs £397.