It’s infuriating enough that £350,000 of taxpayers’ money has had to be used to clean up after fly-tippers in Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport in the past three years.
At a time of hard choices over where councils allocate shrinking budgets, that money could have been used for important services.
But how much more galling it is to discover that, in all that time, only 13 people across the area have been successfully prosecuted for illegally dumping rubbish.
Twelve of those have been in Havant and one in Fareham. Not a single person has been taken to court in Portsmouth or Gosport since 2012.
We only know the full extent of fly-tipping because of a Freedom of Information request.
City council Tory leader Donna Jones says it is an ‘absolute travesty’ that so much money is being spent on clearing away fly-tipped rubbish.
She’s dead right. In the city £108,996 has gone on dealing with 2,598 incidents.
Is there a presumption among fly-tippers that they won’t get caught? A look at these figures would suggest that is the case.
So how can they be stopped? We accept it’s not easy. The reality is that a lot of dumping is done at night-time. Or the fly-tippers choose out-of-the-way locations, far from the reach of CCTV cameras.
But everybody has a part to play in tackling this blight on our public spaces.
Firstly, don’t use the services of unscrupulous traders who dump waste. Secondly, try to acts as the eyes and ears of councils and the police. But that will only be worthwhile if councils show a determination to take fly-tippers to court and make them pay.