Watch out for waste cowboys

Don't trust a '˜white van man' offering to get rid of your rubbish on the cheap.

Saturday, 19th November 2016, 7:38 am
Coun Ian Swithenbank.

That’s the message from Northumberland County Council’s Public Health Protection Unit after a string of fly-tipping incidents from unscrupulous waste collectors.

Residents are being warned they could end up in court if they fall for a growing criminal scam in which they pay, in good faith, to have their bulky waste taken away by people posing as legitimate waste collectors, but who then, to avoid costs, go on to fly tip the very material they were paid to pick up.

Householders could be fined up to £5,000 and left with a criminal record if they use what the Government has dubbed ‘waste cowboys’, who are increasingly advertising their services on social media sites, offering to take rubbish away cheaply.

Residents should be particularly wary of businesses that only operate through social media and do not seem to have a landline phone number nor business address. They should also be wary of anyone coming to their door offering to take away their rubbish cheaply.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In 2015/16 Northumberland County Council spent £130,640 disposing of fly-tipped waste and received 2,060 fly-tipping reports.

Cllr Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services said: “There is a real community effort involved in keeping our towns and villages clean and so, the public are a lot more vigilant and willing to come forward to us with information if they see a fly-tipping incident. This has been a great help to us in tracking down the offenders.

“Fly tipping is a serious environmental crime and we will investigate and pursue every case.

“We will take a very firm stance against the perpetrators and will prosecute offenders to make sure they pay for their crimes and not us.”

Strict environmental protection laws prohibit the transport of waste by unregistered and unlicensed contractors to ensure that it is disposed of properly. The council offers a bulky waste collection service for £13 for one bulky item, reduced to £6.50 for concessions.