Woman fined after failing to assist fly-tipping investigation
Date of alert:
Wednesday, 13 July 2022
A woman has been fined after failing to comply with investigations into waste being dumped in County Durham.
Caroline Helen Saunders, 36, was prosecuted by Durham County Council for not assisting with fly-tipping incidents.
On October 4 last year, one of the council’s neighbourhood wardens found three bags of fly-tipped waste at the rear of Princes Street in Bishop Auckland. On checking the waste for evidence, information was found linking it to Saunders.
A council tax check was carried out which confirmed that the defendant lived in Princes Street. The location has been used for fly-tipping previously and as a result, there is a CCTV camera deployed there.
The warden checked the CCTV camera footage and this showed that on 2 October, a red car arrived in the lane and a man got out of the driver’s side. He then put the three black plastic bin bags of waste next to the lamppost. The vehicle registration could not be obtained from the footage.
The matter was referred to the council’s fly-tipping investigation team. The investigating officer sent Saunders a letter asking her to contact him by 8 December but she did not respond.
On 14 December the warden sent a notice to the defendant. It required her to either attend the council offices on 5 January so that he could progress his investigation or rearrange the appointment. The defendant did not contact the warden nor attend the offices at the appropriate date and time.
On March 28 this year, a warden attended Green Lane, High Grange, following a complaint of a fly-tip. He found waste including a cardboard box containing various household waste items as well as evidence linked to the defendant.
The warden attended Saunders’ address on 1 April and spoke to her. She said that her ex-partner had removed the waste but would not provide further information.
The defendant was then sent a letter requesting that she contact the investigating officer but failed to reply. Saunders was sent further requests but did not respond or attend council offices.
Saunders was then charged with two counts of failing to assist an investigation and told to appear at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.
The defendant did not attend court nor enter a plea, with magistrates finding the matters proved in her absence.
Saunders was fined £240 and ordered to pay costs of £510 as well as a victim surcharge of £34.
Ian Hoult, Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: "Fly-tipping is a significant offence that can cause environmental damage to our beautiful county.
“We investigate all instances of waste being illegally dumped, so it is important that people assist us in these matters so that we can take action against those responsible."