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06 May 2022

THE PUBLIC have been warned to beware of cowboy rubbish collectors. A fly tipper who dumped rubbish in Northumberland has been brought to justice following an investigation by environmental enforcement officers at Northumberland County Council. 

Robert Robinson aged 33, of Market Square, Lynemouth has been ordered to pay a total of £3,370 by North Tyneside Magistrates after pleading guilty to three fly tipping offences in the county last year. The red transit van used during his dumping spree has also been seized. 

An investigation was launched by Northumberland County Council’s public protection environmental enforcement team after piles of rubbish were found dumped on three occasions in the county. 

It was later discovered that Robinson had advertised on social media as a waste carrier and members of the public had paid him in good faith to clear up their waste and dispose of it responsibly. 

On the 18th of August 2021, a report of a large fly-tipping incident was received by Northumberland County Council at Steads Burn, Widdrington. The fly tip consisted of waste plaster boards, insulation, builder’s rubble, and general household rubbish.  

On the 18th of September 2021, a report of a fly-tipping incident was received by the council at the rear of Albert Avenue, Bedlington where a large settee was dumped. 

On the 9th of October 2021, a report of another large fly-tipping incident was received on Cemetery Road, Lynemouth which consisted of white goods, kitchen units and general household waste. 

Robinson was called in for interview with the county council’s enforcement officers where he admitted owning the vehicle they had seized but left the meeting after being asked further questions about its use. 

Magistrates ordered Robinson to a fine of £2,016, to pay £1164.52 in costs and a victim surcharge of £190 a total financial penalty of £3,370.52. They also ordered that the vehicle he used during the offending, be forfeited. 

Northumberland County Councilor, Colin Horncastle, cabinet member for community services said: “There is a growing criminal scam in which residents 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 being paid to pick up.” 
“Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence and takes time and money to clear up. There are so many ways to get rid of waste responsibly and most of our residents do so. No matter what the waste, or the reasons behind it, fly tipping will never be tolerated and will be dealt with firmly by the council. “ 

The council is advising residents to always ensure they use a registered waste carrier, who will dispose of their waste lawfully at an authorised site. They are also advised to be particularly wary of businesses that only operate through social media and do not seem to have a landline phone number or business address, or of anyone coming to their door offering to take away rubbish for less than expected. The onus is on the owner of the waste to make sure it is disposed of lawfully otherwise they too run the risk of prosecution. 
Before handing over their waste to anyone, residents should ask to see a current waste carriers license issued by the Environment Agency and obtain a waste transfer note or invoice from the business which should include the vehicle registration number used for removal and where the waste is going. If they cannot give you these items, then do not give them your waste. 

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