Swoop on fly-tipping in St Albans district

Police fly-tipping operation

Police fly-tipping operation - Credit: Archant

A new crackdown on fly-tipping is promised by police in St Albans after responsibility for tackling it was switched to them.

Previouosly it was the sole responsibility of St Albans council but it now falls to the police to deal with in in partnership with the Rural Operational Support Team (ROST), the council and other agencies.

Between April 1 and July 31, there were 43 recorded instances of fly-tipping in Harpenden and Redbourn, with the ‘hotspot’ areas being Hogg End Lane and Punch Bowl Lane in Redbourn.

PC Jane Flemons from the Harpenden and Rural Neighbourhood Team said: “The impact on local residents and rural communities is huge with people finding their road or access frequently blocked or the dumped waste damaging their vehicle as they try to pass.

“There are serious health and safety issues around dumped waste as well as the enormous cost to taxpayers to clean up the fly-tipped areas.”

St Albans Chief Inspector Ken Townsend said the local Community Safety Partnership (CSP) would be purchasing covert cameras to install across the district.

He added: “Specialist training about fly-tipping and scrap metal licences has been given to police officers across the CSP by council staff and they are now in the habit of regularly checking the hotspots as part of their daily patrols.”

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Following the training, a dedicated operation ran from between June and July at the Herts County showground in Redbourn where police officers stopped and searched vehicles suspected of carrying waste. They were taken to the Herts County showground where further checks could be carried out by St Albans council officers and Trading Standards.

Over 100 vehicles were stopped – 25 were given advice about their waste or scrap metal licences, two unlicensed waster carriers were reported and one was reported for breaching his scrap metal licence.

Seven tickets of £60 each were also issued for a number of offences including no vehicle test certificate and failure to display excise licence.

A 31-year-old man from Potters Bar is currently on police bail for dumping bathroom accessories in Punch Bowl Lane on June 2 this year. He is due to answer his bail on September 4.

Three other people have been identified as suspected fly-tippers and are waiting to be interviewed by police and two investigations are on-going with the district council

The council’s portfolio holder for environment, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, said: “We are working closely with the police to reduce fly-tipping in the district. It is a criminal act that leaves an unsightly blot on the landscape and costs the council and taxpayers thousands of pounds to clear up.”

Fly-tipping carries a maximum fine of up to £50,000 and is a big expense to the council - it cost over £11,000 between April and June this year alone.