City of Wolverhampton Council has warned householders they could land themselves with a court fine if they give their waste to scrap dealers without first checking if they are registered.

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The warning comes after a 42 year old man from the city was prosecuted after rubbish from his home including bags of clothes, bedding and piles of letters ended up being fly tipped after he paid 3 men who turned up on his doorstep to take it away.

Colin Tomlinson, of Cannock Road, appeared before City of Wolverhampton Magistrates and was fined £400 and ordered to pay costs of £1,015 after admitting he made no attempt to check the men were licensed to take the items.

It is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) if a householder fails to take reasonable measures to ensure waste taken from their property is transferred to an authorised person(s).

The court was told that City of Wolverhampton Council received a complaint of fly tipping in Wood Hayes Road, Wednesfield, on 21 October last year.

Council officers visited the site and found a large amount of dumped waste - including many documents such as a council tax booklet and financial letters all addressed to Mr Tomlinson. 

Tomlinson was subsequently interviewed by council public protection officers and admitted the waste was his. He said he had been having a clear out and was approached on his doorstep by the 3 men who arrived in an unmarked van.

They offered to take the rubbish from Tomlinson's property if he paid them £30. He agreed to pay the money, but admitted during the interview that he made no attempt to ascertain the identity of the men or whether they were authorised to take the waste.

The men did not provide a waste transfer note, a receipt or business card - they only provided a mobile phone number.

Tomlinson pleaded guilty to the offence and told the court that he never thought the men would fly tip the rubbish.

City of Wolverhampton Council is now reminding people of the steps they need to take to ensure waste is disposed of in accordance with the law.

This includes never agreeing right away to give waste to someone who cold calls or turns up on the doorstep. If this happens, people are advised to politely decline and say they will think about and get back to them after asking for the following information:

  • the full address and telephone number of the business
  • a copy of their waste carrier licence issued by the Environment Agency

Once people have this information, people can contact the council on 01902 551155 who will run a check and will confirm whether the business is licensed.

Councillor Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for city environment, said it was vital that people took full responsibility for the disposal of their waste.

He added: "There are unscrupulous people out there who will happily take your money and tell you they will dispose of your waste - only to drive a short distance and dump it on the roadside.

"That is why the law says householders need to check that anyone who takes waste away is authorised to do so. The onus is on you as the owner of the waste to make sure it is disposed of by people who will deal with it appropriately.

"If you don't take simple steps to make sure the people you are dealing with are genuine, you are effectively giving licence to fly tip and that is totally unacceptable.

"Fly tipping costs taxpayers across the country millions of pounds every year to clean up as well as being an anti social eyesore."

  • released: Tuesday 25 April, 2017