Plans to punish fly-tippers by forcing them to pick up litter have been backed by people in South Tyneside.
The government is preparing a range of new punishments for those sentenced to community service for dumping waste.
One of the options is being forced to take part in work parties to clean up community areas.
The plans have been given the seal of approval by readers on the Gazette’s Facebook page.
Alison Purvis posted: “Good idea, hopefully they will realise and stop it.”
Jim Leeder wrote: “Great idea.”
Joshua Hamilton added: “Nice one.”
Martin Brown said: “Totally agree with that.”
The proposal follows data from the Environment Department (Defra) which revealed there were 936,090 reported cases of fly-tipping in England in 2015-16 - costing councils £49.8million to clean up.
Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “The government now wants to see more of those committing crimes like this taking responsibility for cleaning up the community by picking up litter and illegally dumped waste themselves.”
It appears the community is behind the plans.
Steve Smigs Smith said on Facebook: “Generally you would have to catch them first.
“Personally, I’ve never done it before but I imagine they don’t dump it in highly-populated areas with a CCTV camera pointing at them in broad daylight.”
Phillip Harrison added: “Yes, providing it was them, and not someone they paid to remove it correctly.”
Ashley Rawlings posted: “I told them to do this years ago, and they should make them tidy up grave yards in the area to as they are fiy tipping in some of these too.”
Under the proposals, fresh guidance would also be issued to councils reminding them it is illegal to charge DIY enthusiasts to dispose of household waste at the tip.
Current guidance outlaws the fees, but there are concerns some councils are charging £4 a bag for soil or waste from home renovations, the Sunday Telegraph said.
Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: “We hope these proposals are the roots of a strategy that will all but eradicate fly-tipping for good.
“They reward good intentions to dispose of waste and rubbish responsibly, and should deter people from thinking they can get away with trashing the countryside. As the wider litter strategy develops, we must remember that fly-tipping often happens on private land.
“We need to do more to protect those in the countryside who have to pay the clean-up costs of someone else’s selfishness.”