Photo evidence from passers-by leads to conviction of fly tipper

Marius Tomas, 37, of Hiljon Crescent, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, made a guilty plea at High Wycombe Magistrates' Court on 27 February 2019 to a charge of fly tipping on land off St Huberts Lane, Gerrards Cross, in July 2016.

The court heard that on the evening of 12 July 2016 at around 8:50pm, two witnesses came across a large white van with rear door open on land off St Huberts Lane, Gerrards Cross.  They saw two men behaving suspiciously, and being aware of previous illegal dumping in the area they suspected that the men were fly tipping.  They took photographs of the van from their car, recording the vehicle registration, and saw at least one item being deposited- a white wire basket or cage.

The men from the van approached the witnesses and claimed to have had a problem with one of the van's tyres.  They then drove off at speed and the witnesses took photographs of waste they saw dumped where the van had been.

The witnesses reported the dumping to the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire, who then investigated the incident.  Investigators traced details in the waste to a residential address in Loudwater, High Wycombe. The resident confirmed that he had employed a van owner who matched the witnesses' evidence to remove his waste.

Tomas was found to be the registered keeper of the vehicle and he was interviewed at a local police station by Waste Partnership officers.  He admitted having been present at the scene, but denied dumping waste.

The case was originally to have been heard in July 2017, but Mr Tomas failed to attend and a warrant was issued for his arrest.  This warrant was executed successfully in early 2019 and the case came back to court for a hearing on 27 February 2019.  Mr Tomas entered a guilty plea to the dumping charge and was sentenced.

The Magistrates fined Tomas £1,200 for dumping the waste.  He was ordered to pay clean-up, investigation and legal costs in the sum of £1,758. A victim surcharge of £120 was also ordered against him - making a total to pay of £3,078.

South Bucks District Council Cabinet Member for Environment Luisa Sullivan, speaking on behalf of the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire, said: "This waste could so easily have been disposed of properly - but instead the defendant chose to act illegally. Then thanks to the invaluable help of members of the community, he ended up in court- even though he had to be arrested to get him there."

The case was prosecuted by Buckinghamshire County Council working on behalf of the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire.  The Waste Partnership launched the "SCRAP Fly-tipping" campaign in August 2018 to combat illegal dumping and waste management offences in Buckinghamshire.  Since 2003 the Partnership has secured over 690 convictions against individuals and companies for illegal dumping and related offences.  On average since April 2010, there has been at least one conviction per week for illegal dumping offences in Buckinghamshire.  This resulted in a halving of reported incidents and a significant saving to the Buckinghamshire tax payer over the period, principally through reducing removal and disposal costs.

Illegal dumping can be reported at www.fixmystreet.buckscc.gov.uk.

The Waste Partnership advises people employing waste carriers to avoid using casual callers. Find a reputable carrier who is authorised to remove waste. 

Avoiding cash payment significantly reduces the chances that the waste will be fly-tipped and increases the chances of prosecuting the dumper if the waste is dumped illegally.

Supporting the legitimate waste industry improves the standards of how waste is dealt with and ensures higher recycling rates and a cleaner environment.