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Cheshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team have joined forces with Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Environment Agency as part of an ongoing operation targeting illegal fly-tipping and waste transfer offences.
On average, there are almost 600 fly-tipping incidents every month across the borough, costing taxpayers more than £350,000 a year to clear up.
As part Operation Flycatcher, which began on 29 November, officers from Cheshire Police, Environment Agency and Cheshire West and Chester Council have been working together to conduct vehicle stops at checkpoints and roaming patrols across the borough.
Everything from small commercial carriers to large HGVs are being stopped to check if they are legally transporting waste and have the necessary licences and documents.
The partnership operation, which has seen more than 35 vehicles stopped in its first week, is part of ongoing efforts to make the borough a hostile place for those involved in illegal waste transfer and disposal offences.
Police Constable Ashley Tether from Cheshire’s Rural Crime Team, said:
“Sadly, we’ve seen a rise in illegal fly-tipping during the coronavirus pandemic and we are working closely with the local authority to tackle this issue and make Cheshire West a hostile environment for those involved in the movement of illegal waste.
“Fly-tipping is a crime which affects everyone. Not only does it cause a blight on our landscape, but it also cost taxpayers thousands of pounds to clear up. As part of our ongoing efforts to tackle the issue, we also need support from residents. If you need to dispose of any waste, ensure that you use a legitimate waste removal company and always ask to see their license.
“There are a number of unscrupulous people out there who claim to have a license to get rid of waste but have no intention of doing things correctly, often charging bargain prices to get rid of your rubbish, only for it to end up in a farmers field or layby. In addition, if the waste is tracked down to you, what started off as a bargain could end up as a hefty fine, even if you weren’t the one who dumped the waste.”
Officers were joined by John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, who visited one of the checkpoints at Dunkirk. Mr Dwyer said: Mr Dwyer said:
“I’m regularly contacted by residents who have been impacted by illegal fly tipping, so it’s great to see some of the partnership work taking place to tackle the issue.
“Fly tipping can have a detrimental impact on many of our communities and operations like this one demonstrate that we are listening to your concerns and cracking down on those who think it is acceptable to leave waste wherever they choose.
“I want to thank all of the officers and staff from Cheshire Constabulary and those from Cheshire West and Chester and the Environment Agency who all played a key role in this operation. I hope that the operation acts as a deterrent to those who are considering fly tipping as a way to earn a fast buck.”
During the vehicle stops, several offences were identified which resulted in seven fines being issued to drivers, two further fines issued for no insurance, three vehicles being reported for no insurance, four vehicles being seized and one person being reported to court for motoring and suspected drug offences.
There was also a separate arrest for drug driving and motoring offences.
Officers also used Selecta DNA to mark rubble being carried by one of the vehicles they stopped which mean if they dispose of it illegally, officers will be able to link the rubble to the carrier and take direct action.
Since the beginning of the operation, Cheshire West and Chester Council enforcement officers inspected every reported fly-tip across the borough to gather evidence, take witness statements, obtain CCTV footage, conduct interviews and deliver enforcement interventions.
There has been more than 400 points of contact made with the public during the first week of the operation.
Officers have issued more than £2,000 in fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping offences. Several investigations are ongoing for waste transfer offences.
Mobile CCTV has been used in key locations across the borough and this will continue over the coming months to obtain video evidence from fly-tipping hotspots.
Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said:
“This is a successful start to an ongoing operation. Our officers will continue to inspect and enforce against fly-tipping and waste carriage offences as part of their normal duties.
“We will continue to work in partnership with Cheshire Police and the Environment Agency to target anyone who chooses to blight our borough with illegally deposited materials, or to carry waste illegally within our borough. Our mobile CCTV cameras are moving around the borough specifically to identify incidents of fly-tipping.
“We encourage residents to contact us to report fly-tipping, as soon as possible, on either 01244 973708 or via email on [email protected] Or you can provide information anonymously via Crime Stoppers either online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or call 0800 555 111.”
Jane Sansbury, Waste Crime Engagement Specialist said:
“The Environment Agency are determined to make life hard for criminals by disrupting and stopping illegal waste activity through tough enforcement action.
“Targeted weeks of action like this are a great example of how we can achieve better outcomes by working collaboratively, using our combined powers to stop illegal activity.
“We would like to remind anyone carrying waste for business, including tradespeople, they are required to hold a waste carriers registration to transport commercial waste. It is their responsibility to ensure they obtain the correct licence for their business activity. In order to protect the environment, their customers and obey the law they should also operate in line with the waste duty of care code of practice. To get a waste carriers registration, you can apply online via the government’s website www.gov.uk ”
The Environment Agency will continue to work with the Council and policing teams to conduct waste carrier checks for inspections of documentation, along with inspections of suspected illegal waste transfer stations.
The operation follows on from the recent and ongoing work undertaken by the Council which has seen secret cameras installed in hotspot areas.