Householders in South Tyneside are being warned against paying a ‘man-with-a-van’ who they find on social media sites to remove waste.
South Tyneside Council say people posing as waste removal companies on sites such as Facebook are often not legitimate waste carriers - with many illegally dumping the rubbish at the side of the road.
The council says it is investigating a number of cases where householders have been duped into paying anything from £30 to £100 for waste to be removed after using social media sites.
A council spokeswoman said: “While social media is an extremely useful resource, we are seeing more and more cases where unlicensed waste carriers either come recommended by others or they offer to take away rubbish on the cheap using social media.
“Even though residents are paying them in good faith, the waste is often not legitimately disposed of and is flytipped by the road side or at borough beauty spots instead.”
She added: “The council investigates incidents of flytipping and when rubbish can be traced back to a particular property.
“It the householder who could be held responsible.
“It is important that residents who arrange for waste to be disposed of check that the waste carrier is registered to do so and receives a waste transfer note as a receipt.
“People are also advised to take a photo of the vehicle used to carry the waste.”
Homeowners can be prosecuted under Household Waste Duty of Care regulations if they fail to make sufficient checks to ensure the waste is disposed of by an authorised person at an authorised site.
For information about the many ways to dispose of waste safely call: 0191 427 7000 or visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling