A Heysham woman is counting the cost of failing to provide information to help identify those responsible for fly-tipping a large quantity of household waste.
Shannon Sawyer, of Warren Grove in Heysham, was ordered to pay a total of £1,084 in fines and costs by magistrates after being taken to court by Lancaster City Council as part of its Operation Peregrine initiative.
The court heard that in November last year a local resident was visited by a man who offered to take away a substantial amount of waste from their garden for just £40.
They agreed and it was taken away the next day and dumped on the car park by Peel Avenue and Warren Road in Heysham.
Officers from Lancaster City Council investigated the fly-tip, which led them to a shocked resident, who provided a photograph of the van in which their waste had been taken away.
Investigations found that Sawyer, aged 28, was the person insured to drive the van and she was asked to attend meetings and furnished with a list of questions asking for information about the fly-tip, all of which she ignored.
As a result the council took her to court for failing to answer a notice served under Section 108 of the Environment Protection Act 1995, which required her to provide information to help identify the fly-tippers.
She failed to attend the court hearing and was found guilty in her absence. Magistrates fined her £440, ordered to pay costs of £600, and a victim surcharge of £44.
Coun Dave Brookes, Cabinet member with responsibility for Environmental Services, said: “Waste needs to be disposed of responsibly, and in accordance with the law. Fly-tipping is a blight on the environment, and the city council is determined to hold the culprits to account.
“Failure to co-operate with investigations, as in this case, will not deter the council from taking action, and anyone thinking of committing a similar crime should think again, unless they want to be given a heavy fine.”
Operation Peregrine is the name of the city council’s campaign that aims to crack down on fly-tipping and make those responsible for the crime pay for their actions.
If you want to join in the battle against fly-tipping and can offer any information which might lead to an offender being identified and caught, please call Lancaster City Council Customer Services on 01524 582491, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online reporting form at www.lancaster.gov.uk/fly-tipping