South Tyneside Council officers provided an update on steps being taken to tackle fly-tipping in the region, and looked at progress on recommendations made in 2016 on the issue.
Councillors on the Place Select Committee heard this week from officers in the last three months alone there had been six prosecutions for fly-tipping in the area.
This included one property which had “one hundred bags of waste in a very small backyard”.
Cllr Geraldine Kilgour, committee chair, said communities are “blighted by fly-tipping” and addressing the issue is “very, very close to everyone’s hearts”.
Cllr Ernest Gibson, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety, stressed the importance of residents providing intelligence to the council to help them tackle the issue.
He said: “We need to see it, report it, sort it. That’s what we’d like to run. If residents or the local public report it, then we can sort it.”
He also praised the “fantastic” community ‘Friends Of’ groups for their work helping to keep areas tidy in the region.
Cllr Doreen Purvis said residents need greater education on how they can help play their part in tackling fly-tipping.
She said: “There’s some areas where we need to go back to basics.
“I do think people need a way of knowing what their responsibilities are when it comes to disposing of stuff.
“I think we really do need to go back and point out to people they do have a responsibility, and there aren’t some sort of magic people that come and take your unwanted furniture away if you just dump it in the back lane.”
Praise was also given to other community groups who help clear up rubbish and litter from areas of South Tyneside.
Cllr Wilf Flynn said: “I want to pay tribute to the groups, and these aren’t Friends Of, these are groups of individuals who come together through Facebook and litter picks.
“They don’t take the attitude it’s the council’s job, they just do it, it’s expanding all the time.”
A presentation from officers noted how steps taken to tackle fly-tipping include CCTV, with 10 deployable cameras available to the authority offering 24/7 surveillance, which have helped to gather “excellent evidence” in some cases.
Officers noted they have also been taking part in local and national campaigns to tackle the issue, and will look to work with schools and colleges to educate young people.
Council officers also stressed the importance of issues being reported to the local authority contact centre, so they can keep track of incidents and report the outcome to residents.
Andrew Whittaker, council corporate lead for town centres and foreshore, said: “It’s important we keep pushing the message, we don’t forget about it.
“It does go though peaks and troughs, it’s not just a seasonal issue.”
Officers also noted they have an environmental enforcement team to help tackle the issue, along with offences such as dog fouling, which has been fully staffed since the end of June.
They added officers have been out recently “six in the morning and nine at night” trying to catch offenders, but this all relies on quality, detailed intelligence being provided.