Fly-tippers given four-year sentences

Two men who dumped an 80-metre trail of rubbish on Tooting Common have each been jailed for four years.

Billy Smith, 28, of Orpington, and James Rice, 35, of Bromley, were handed the sentences at Maidstone Crown Court on 28 October after pleading guilty to illegally dumping the waste.

The court heard how the two men would drive around south London and north Kent in a tipper truck and cold call the owners of homes that were being renovated.

They would then offer the owners competitive rates to take the construction waste away, but would dump it in nearby streets or parks. According to the prosecution, some of the illegal deposits were so big that they completely blocked country lanes.

Smith and Rice were arrested by officers from Kent Police investigating serious fly-tipping incidents. Both admitted a number of offences in Sevenoaks, Tooting, West Wickham, South Norwood, Siudcup, Keston and Bromley when appearing at Medway Magistrates’ Court in September. They were remanded in custody until sentencing by a judge at Maidstone Crown Court on 28 October.

Message of sentences ‘loud and clear’

Detective Constable Alan Poulton, who led the investigation for Kent police, said: “Smith and Rice showed an absolute disregard and contempt for their surroundings.

“They posed as genuine traders offering to remove waste and rubbish from people’s homes but then discarded of their cargo in the most irresponsible and deplorable way, defiling the countryside and breaking the law.

“These type of crimes not only have profound environmental consequences, but can also cause great distress to local residents, and I’m very pleased that the court has passed what are very significant sentences indeed.

“The message these sentences send is loud and clear; there will be serious consequences for anyone involved in fly-tipping rubbish in Kent.”

Builder fined for ignoring duty of care

A builder who handed his waste over to Smith and Rice has also been fined for his part in a fly-tipping incident.

The court heard how, on 3 June this year, the two men approached local builder Leonard Panxhy, 37, who was working on a property in Moring Road, Tooting.

He paid them to dispose of his waste, which they took to Tooting Common and dumped. Wandsworth Council measured the resulting trail of fly-tipped waste at 80 metres in length.

Panxhy appeared at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on the same day that Smith and Rice were sentenced, and was ordered to pay a total of £670 in fines and prosecution costs for his role in the offence as well as a £25 victim surcharge.

In a statement, the council reminded those that pay others to dispose of their commercial or household waste that they should always ask to see relevant waste transfer notes and waste carriers licence to ensure it is being disposed of lawfully. Companies that offer to transport and remove waste on behalf of others must have a proper permit issued by the Environment Agency.

Wandsworth Council’s environment spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said: “This tough sentence should act as a severe warning to anyone tempted to fly-tip. The judge has sent out a very clear message about the fate that lies in store for anyone convicted of serious environmental crimes.”

More information about the duty of care is available on the Environment Agency’s website.