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Offender caught on camera at fly-tipping ‘grot spot’

Targeted surveillance at a fly-tipping ‘grot spot’ in Wirral led to the successful prosecution of a 24-year-old local man.

Specially-installed CCTV cameras captured the evidence which resulted in Shaun Clarke from Bidston pleading guilty to offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

He admitted being the driver of a borrowed van captured during the course of two incidents of illegal dumping on Wilding Way, Bidston Hill on 24th October 2016. Clarke identified himself as the person responsible for dumping items, which appeared to be the contents of a house or shed clearance, from the van during the second incident.

In mitigation, Mr Clarke told the hearing at Wirral Magistrates Court on 30th November, that he had agreed to dispose of the items as a favour to his girlfriend and had intended to take them to the tip, but it was closed.

As he did not want to return the van still full of waste, he decided instead to leave it on Wilding Way where, he claimed, he had seen other items dumped and believed he was not committing an offence.

In deciding on the penalty, the court took these factors into account, along with the early guilty plea, and handed Clarke a £290 fine, a compensation order in respect of clean-up costs of £250, prosecution costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £30. In total, the financial penalty was £820.

Cllr Phillip Brightmore, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Environment, said: “We don’t accept there is ever any excuse to dump waste illegally in Wirral and we will always investigate incidents and bring offenders to justice, whenever we are able to gather enough evidence to do so.

“In this case, officers were using all the powers at their disposal to address an area that had been particularly targeted by fly-tippers so to see their efforts result in a successful prosecution is not just satisfying, it is vindication for all their hard work.

"We have a beautiful borough and we will not shy away prosecuting those few who would seek to spoil it. Wirral Council will not tolerate environmental crime."          

Bidston Hill is a local beauty spot and a site of biological importance, popular with walkers, dog owners and other visitors, but it had become blighted by illegally dumped waste.

In response to concerns raised by residents, local councillors and Wirral Council Rangers who manage the site, the Council’s Environmental Enforcement Team began an operation to identify those responsible for the fly-tipping in this location. Part of this operation involved the deployment of CCTV cameras.

After new dumped waste was discovered on October 25th 2016, environmental enforcement officers inspected the area for evidence and commenced an investigation.

CCTV footage recorded on Wilding Way was reviewed and it had captured the two incidents of fly tipping that occurred the previous evening.

Enquiries traced the van back to the owner, who told officers that he had lent it to the boyfriend of his daughter and it was from here that they were able to identify and interview Mr Clarke in relation to the offences, which he admitted.