‘There’s no excuse. We will catch you and prosecute you’

A fly-tipped mess in London Road, Clanfield
A fly-tipped mess in London Road, Clanfield
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MOUNTAINS of mess being dumped on our streets and beauty spots are costing councils thousands to clean up, The News can reveal.

People illegally dumped 2,723 times in the last 12 months – or seven times a day on average.

And figures suggest it costs £55 for councils to clean up after each one – which makes a staggering £149,765 in total.

In Gosport, there were 595 reports of fly-tipping in the last 12 months compared to 840 reports the year before.

Fareham saw 404 reported incidents, down from 563, which cost taxpayers around £22,000 to clean up.

Cllr Graham Burgess, the chairman of Gosport Borough Council’s community board, said: ‘Fly-tipping is on the decrease in Gosport because people give us information and it is because of that we are able to respond so quickly.

‘Last week we caught someone dumping waste into the creek and they got a fixed penalty notice.

‘I would encourage people to ring us up if they see anything like it. We will catch them and we will prosecute – there is no excuse.’

The council previously prosecuted a man who used his truck to dump rubbish including a fridge, a computer, a wardrobe, mattresses and building rubble on the seafront at Lee-on-the-Solent.

The courts ended up granting the council powers to seize his truck as payment.

Cllr Burgess added: ‘As a deterrent, if we catch anyone dumping rubbish who has a vehicle, we now always ask for their vehicle.’

In Havant, 941 incidents of fly-tipping were reported to the council in the last 12 months.

This is an increase on 863 incidents reported the year before, but a significant drop compared to 1,780 in 2009.

Gary Morton, Havant Borough Council’s ranger team leader, said it is difficult to prosecute offenders because of a lack of evidence.

He said: ‘The main problem is evidence.

‘While people will throw junk mail in with the rubbish, the contents of their garage, or a sofa or broken fridge freezer will not have this kind of information within.

‘Similarly builders’ waste and garden waste rarely comes with anything useful in a prosecution.

‘We also have problems with witnesses refusing to make a statement or reporting the fly-tip anonymously.’

In Portsmouth, the number of reported incidents between November 2010 and October 2011 was 783.

The deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Hugh Mason, said the key to fighting fly-tipping is to make sure it is easy for people to get rid of their waste.

He said: ‘We will take action if somebody is fly-tipping.

‘But the only way we can see to combat this is to make it relatively easy for people to dispose of waste.

‘We have an accessible tip and monthly collection days for garden waste.

‘We have no restriction on the number of black bags that can be put out for collection.

‘Fly-tipping makes our attractive city look ugly.’