Court fines for fly-tipping are ‘pathetic’ say council workers

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Fly-tippers are receiving “miniscule” and “pathetic” fines from courts which do not stop people from dumping waste illegally, it’s been claimed.

Council workers tasked with cleaning up the rubbish are frustrated by some of the punishments handed out to fly-tippers, Wakefield’s Streetscene director said.

Glynn Humphries said that the local authority was trying to work with magistrates on the issue.

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Wakefield is the tenth worst area for fly-tipping in the country, a report revealed earlier this year.

Government guidance says that magistrates  can issue fines of up to £50,000 or a prison sentence of 12 months for the offence.

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Speaking about the issue at an environmental scrutiny committee on Monday, Wakefield West councillor Hilary Mitchell said: “The fines these people are getting are very low.

“If you’re a waste carrier and you’re trying to make a couple of quid, what’s stopping you?

“If you get caught, and that’s a big ‘if’, you only get a fine of about £500. It’s pathetic. It’s not big enough.

“The chance of being caught is so slight that it (dumping waste) is a chance worth taking.

“The fines should be in the thousands.”

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Cleaning up the likes of white goods and furniture left abandoned on roadsides and in the streets costs the district taxpayer around £200,000 a year.

Nearly 4,000 reports of fly-tipping were made to Wakefield Council in 2017, with more incidents taking place in the Wakefield East ward than anywhere else.

Mr Humphries said: “It is a frustration to be honest.

“If someone does get prosecuted we have to put a case together for court.

“Some of the fines recently have been quite meaty – in the thousands – but some have been as little as £150.

“A lot of our team do get frustrated when we see the level of fines that are applied, because it’s not going to have the desired effect.

“Some of the fines are miniscule.”