Rats fears over rubbish - man fined after potential pest zone builds up at South Shields house

A man who bought a South Tyneside property at auction has been fined after allowing its yard to become a potential pest infestation zone.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 12:13 pm

Lewis Goodwin, 41, of Trinity Road, Darlington, was prosecuted by South Tyneside Council when he appeared before borough magistrates.

He was accused of not acting to resolve the issue in Ethel Terrace, off Boldon Lane, South Shields – and faced a maximum £1,000 penalty.

Magistrates heard the council had served notice on him to clean up the exterior on October 9, but that a follow-up inspection later that month revealed no change.

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The property in Ethel Terrace

Goodwin admitted a charge of failing to take required steps around pests in respect of a local authority notice when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

He was fined £325 and hit with £100 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

Leanne Schrouder, prosecuting for the council, said: “The waste is black bags, furniture and wood. The officer who visits is a public health technical officer.

“He confirmed that he visited the property on October 8 and witnessed mixed waste that could provide a harbouring for rats and that it was spilling out on to the lane.”

“He wrote the notice and later went back in October and confirmed that the rubbish had not been removed.”

Goodwin, who defending himself, confirmed he had bought the property at auction and was not sure when the rubbish had accumulated.

He insisted the mess was not there at time of purchase and must have been dumped by fly-tippers, the court was told.

He said he had not been able to gain access to the yard to clear the waste because the back gate had been strongly secured by another person.

But he added: “Fingers crossed, this issue should be sorted today.”

Gary Cracknell, chair of the bench, told Goodwin: “This sort of thing could attract rats which is not nice on those living nearby.

“Although you live a way away from this property, it is still your responsibility. I’m not going to lecture you, you are an intelligent man.”