A man and woman from South Tyneside have been ordered to pay £300 each after ignoring a notice to help in a fly-tipping investigation.
South Tyneside Magistrates Court heard a substantial quantity of waste was found abandoned in the lane behind Collingwood Street, Hebburn, in May.
We spend more than £2million a year keeping the borough clean and tidy, and the illegal disposal of waste places an additional burden on taxpayers.South Tyneside Council
The contents of the waste led council enforcement officers to the address of Robert Freeman and Laura Jane Clark, in Collingwood Street.
The court heard a card requesting the removal of the waste went ignored, as did formal notices issued for Freeman, 31, and Clark, 23, to attend an interview under caution.
South Tyneside Council then took legal action after the pair ignored notices requiring them to make themselves available to answer questions regarding the abandonment of the waste – an offence under the Environment Act 1995.
The case was proven in their absence and the pair were fined £220 each.
They were each also ordered to pay costs of £50 and a victim surcharge of £30.
Magistrates also dealt with the case of Keith Thornton, of Tynemouth Road, Jarrow, in relation to domestic waste found abandoned on the access road to the Siemens factory in Hebburn in April.
Officers traced the waste to a property in South Shields, where it was discovered that the occupant had paid Thornton in good faith to remove the waste.
During the investigation, another quantity of rubbish was found in Jarrow - again leading officers to Thornton, who had been paid by a South Shields resident to remove the waste.
Checks made by investigating officers found that the 33-year-old was not registered to carry waste.
A notice was issued, under Section 108 of the Environment Act 1995, requiring Thornton to attend for interview to answer questions under caution in relation to how the waste collected from two separate addresses came to be abandoned in Hebburn and Jarrow.
An offence was committed when the notice was not complied with.
Thornton was fined £220 in his absence and ordered to pay costs of £100 and a victim surcharge of £30.
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “We spend more than £2million a year keeping the borough clean and tidy, and the illegal disposal of waste places an additional burden on taxpayers.
“We do all we can to identify those responsible.
“Prosecution is always a last resort, but the council was left with no alternative in this case but to pursue the matters through the courts.
"We hope this serves as a reminder that we will take action against those who obstruct our investigations and fail to comply with the notices served on them.”
To report fly-tipping contact South Tyneside Council’s Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000.
All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Alternatively, report it online via the council’s website HERE.