What Croydon Council was today claiming to be the latest example of success for their campaign against fly-tipping might, when looked at through less-rosy-spectacles, simply demonstrate what a thorough-going, long-term slog the local authority faces in bringing even the most open-and-shut cases to prosecution.
Lance Morris was found guilty at Croydon Crown Court on Friday of three environmental offences. Judge Elizabeth Smaller sentenced the 47-year-old from Beulah Road, Thornton Heath, to do 120 hours’ community service and to pay a £50 fine and £60 victim surcharge.
Some might think that Morris had got off lightly.
Morris was convicted of offences involving fly-tipping at a builder’s yard in Martin Crescent over a period of three years to 2015.
But he had been subject to nearly 20 visits from council environmental health officers going back to 2011, all to try to get him to comply with his legal duties. In evidence to the court, a council official admitted that Croydon had previously spent £5,000 of public money to get the site cleared.
In her closing remarks, Judge Smaller suggested that as part of Morris’s sentence, he should spend his community service clearing up other fly-tips around the borough.
Many might wish that he’s gets the particularly messy ones to deal with.
In total, it’s reckoned Morris dumped more than 60 tons of his crap – about 100 tyres, plus timber and other builder’s waste, and a caravan – on the site in Waddon when he had no environmental permit and he failed to comply with a Section 59 notice under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act.
Also discovered among the rubble and rubbish on the site was a skip believed to contain asbestos.
The court heard that there was a fire at the yard in July 2015 in which two tonnes of rubbish next to a caravan was “deliberately” set on fire, leading to a nearby property being evacuated.
The council says that Morris is the 151st successful prosecution under its Don’t Mess With Croydon campaign.
“This illegal waste mountain blighted the local environment for years, so maybe Mr Morris will learn a thing or two from having to clear up fly-tips as part of his sentence,” said Stuart Collins, the council’s deputy leader.
Stu: the bloke got off with a £110 fine.
“This case underlines how our officers will continue to prosecute those who flout the law, and I hope it will make other potential fly-tippers think twice.”
Just 110 quid, Stuart. After six years.
The cost-benefit analysis would suggest that other shameless commercial fly-tippers will put such a fine down as an “occasional cost” and an “occupational hazard”. And then wait for the council to come along and clean up after them again.
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