People who broke environmental laws in South Tyneside have had to cough up nearly £10,000 in fines and costs.
Between April and September this year, 21 prosecutions were carried out by South Tyneside Council for a range of offences – with 19 defendants found guilty.
These ranged from failing to remove household waste to more serious fly-tipping offences.
The council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee heard offenders have been ordered to pay a total of £9,540 - £6,980 in fines, £1,900 in costs and £750 in victim surcharges.
Coun Alexander Donaldson praised the work of the council enforcement team, noting the residents living near Cleadon Hills who have “suffered greatly” as a result of fly-tipping.
He said: “I welcome this report because it’s too common nowadays to dump, dump, dump.
“Although these fines look good on paper, as far as I’m concerned, more needs to more done to increase fines nationally and seize vehicles.
“People are just completely irresponsible by dumping stuff. It’s just not a natural thing to do.”
He added: “I think they should be well taken care of by the fines and further action if necessary.”
Prosecutions were made under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act (1949), The Environmental Protection Act (1990), the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Police Act (2014) and the Environment Act (1995).
Coun Jim Foreman described figures as “horrific” and called on council officers raise awareness around enforcement.
Coun Angela Hamilton asked what the council was doing to prevent environmental crime in the first place.
The meeting heard the council aims to advise residents about the correct methods for waste disposal before taking any formal action.
It says its powers to prosecute are only used as a last resort against people who consistently refusing to co-operate or those ignoring warnings.
Fly-tipping can be reported to South Tyneside Council’s customer contact centre on 0191 427 7000.
Alternatively, it can be reported online via the council’s website at: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/reportit
Further information about the safe and responsible waste disposal can also be found at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service