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A van that was used to fly-tip on Frodsham marshes in 2020 has been crushed following a deprivation order by the courts.
On Tuesday 13 September, the white Ford Transit van was taken to be destroyed in Birkenhead, Wirral after its owner, Sean Fagan, 29, of Whitney Road, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to fly-tipping at Chester Magistrates’ Court on 27 July this year.
He had lent his van out to a friend, who did the fly tipping. As Fagan was the registered keeper of the vehicle, under the law he is treated as knowingly causing the waste to be deposited, even if he knew nothing about it.
The courts ordered the van to be confiscated while Fagan was handed a fine of £180 and ordered to pay court costs of £490 and a £34 victim surcharge.
The case came about following a joint investigation between Cheshire Constabulary and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Officers from the Rural Crime Team were first called to reports of fly-tipping on Frodsham marshes – on arrival the van was found abandoned, with the keys in the ignition along with fresh tyre tracks.
A scrap washing machine was found inside the van along with rubbish dumped nearby in a drainage ditch on Weaver Lane.
After speaking with witnesses at the scene, it was claimed that three men fled the scene on foot, Fagan being one of the men.
Just as they began to leave the scene, officers were made aware of a call from Fagan to 101 who was demanding to know where his vehicle was and wanting it to be returned. Police immediately seized the van from the scene.
Fagan claimed he had lent his van to a friend and following further investigation he was summonsed to court for the fly-tipping offence.
Police Constable Peter Moss, of Cheshire’s Rural Crime Team, said: “This is a great result for Cheshire Constabulary and local partners in the fight against fly-tipping.
“Fly-tipping is a crime that can affect everyone, not only is the dumping of illegal waste an eyesore but it can be health hazard too, costing thousands in tax-payers money to clean up.
“If fly-tipping isn’t dealt with quickly, I can lead to an increase in littering in areas – that is why we need the support from local residents and communities to ensure that you use legitimate removal companies.
“If you don’t, what started off as low-cost waste removal could end up in a large fine if the waste is tracked back to you – even if you didn’t dump it.”
Councillor Karen Shore, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “This is an excellent result in our ongoing operation to tackle fly-tipping.
“The video footage taken when the van was crushed is a clear demonstration of how fly-tipping can turn into a very expensive crime for offenders. As well as a fine, you risk losing a vehicle you rely on.
“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 Crimestoppers either online at Crimestoppers or call 0800 555 111.”
John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire said: “This fantastic result is testament to the work put in by the Constabulary and Council to combat fly-tipping.
“It sends a clear message to would-be fly-tippers in Cheshire that we’ll find you and deal with you appropriately.
“It’s really important that anyone looking to offload their waste does so through a legitimate and responsible company. The consequences of not doing so can include a hefty fine, and being an unknowing participant won’t wash if the waste is traced back to you.
“My thanks again go to the teams who made this happen. Through my Waste Crime Partnership I’m keen for us all to work together and share information so we get more results like this across the county.”