£400 fine for South Tyneside grass dumper sparks debate

Melissa Hayes has received a �400 fine after dumping garden waste on Cleadon Hills.
Melissa Hayes has received a �400 fine after dumping garden waste on Cleadon Hills.

Gazette readers have spoken out both in support – and condemnation – of council chiefs who fined a woman £400 for dumping garden waste on grassland in South Tyneside.

They took to social media to voice their opinions on action taken against Melissa Hayes, 30, and the severity of her punishment.

The Gazette revealed this week how the call centre worker was spotted dumping garden cuttings in a field near Cleadon Hills.

Ms Hayes, of Green Hill Walk, South Shields, is believed to have been reported by a passer-by who recorded her car registration number.

She was summoned to an interview with council environmental bosses, where she admitted the offence and vowed never to repeat it.

However, she has claimed she saw no harm in dumping garden waste in an area of natural grassland.

South Tyneside Council has defended its decision to fine her, insisting flytipping is illegal, a huge drain on resources, and an additional burden on taxpayers.

On social media site Facebook, Joanne Brennan supported Ms Hayes, saying: “Maybe the council’s grass cutters should be fined too.

“They come around the estates in their sit-on lawn mowers, cut the grass and leave it, they leave hills the size of small mountains. Why can’t they pick their mess up?”

And Carol Henton hit out: “A greedy council ‘raking it in’ - pun intended.”

Neil Robinson branded the council as ‘pathetic’, adding: “This is what everyone did before the green bins.

“Just put them in the grey bin from now on and increase the council’s land fill charge.”

Sylvia Besnard said: “If the council charged a bit less for removal of junk, more would dispose of their junk legally.”

But Christina Carr defended the council, saying: “Other people dispose of their garden waste legally, so there’s no excuse for this at all.”

And Rachel Mavin added: “She was caught dumping her grass waste from a black bag onto the hills.

“She was spotted flytipping, so she should pay a fine. She didn’t dispose of her waste correctly.”

Ruth Potts said: “Good, it’s about time. I’m fed up of seeing litter. It’s awful when you go along the road and it’s all chucked out of car windows. Take your litter home and put it in the bin!”

Leeanne Taylor had little sympathy, commenting: “The fact that she put it in a bag and drove somewhere to dispose of it shows that she knew it was wrong.

“Another person who thinks they can do whatever and someone else will clean up after them.”

And Martin Brown said: “It’s flytipping, so this person needs to be fined. Flytipping is illegal, nothing to do with the green bin charge, as this went on before the charge.”

South Tyneside Council says flytipping can be reported by calling 427 7000, text 07786 200 802 or via its website.

Information on how waste can be safely, legally and responsibly disposed of is at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling