Farmer's frustration as flytippers strike again
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
SEVEN years after appearing on a TV programme highlighting the problem of fly-tipping, a dale farmer has fallen victim, with litter louts dumping a van full of rubbish in the same field.
Simon Robinson, from Headlam Farms, Headlam, appeared in an episode of Caught on Camera after police and council officials were unable to identify who dumped 25,000 videos in the entrance to one of his fields off Cakesmire Lane.
Despite national publicity and investigations by police and Durham County Council, the culprits were never brought to justice, which officials say is often the case when there is no CCTV footage or evidence of ownership.
However, this month a fresh load of rubbish was left in the entrance to the same field. Mr Robinson said: “Last time we appeared on Caught on Camera and we had to film a reconstruction, but even then, they never caught who did it and it cost me about £250 to have the videos taken away.
“I couldn’t believe it has happened again and in the same field entrance. There’s a transit load of rubbish right in the gateway.
“My daughter took photographs of the rubbish and put in on a few Facebook groups for Darlington. Within 20 minutes we were contacted by the owners of this takeaway in Darlington asking us to take the posts down as they’d paid a contractor to take the rubbish away legally.”
Mr Robinson reported it to Durham County Council and was even able to provide a mobile number for the unlicensed contractor who dumped the rubbish after finding evidence of where it came from. However, he was astounded to be told there was little they could do.
Mr Robinson said: “I spoke to the enforcement officer and he said because the rubbish came from a business in Darlington, they weren’t able to do much. They would pass on the details. But I’m still going to be left with having to take it away.
“These people who dump the rubbish know that if they leave it on verges the council have to clear it up – by putting in my gateway, I have to. It’s going be about £400 to have this lot cleared up.”
Fly-tipping is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12-months imprisonment if convicted in a magistrates’ court. Offenders can receive unlimited fines and up to five years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court.
Ian Hoult, Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We take all reports of fly-tipping within County Durham extremely seriously regardless of whether the dumped waste originated from within our boundaries or elsewhere.
“In this case, we received a complaint which we have been and are still investigating. We have been and will continue to keep Mr Robinson updated as we work towards appropriate action being taken against those responsible.”