A Washington man whose van was involved in a fly-tipping incident near Stanley has avoided jail.
Steven Adams, 39, of Rowan Avenue in Washington, appeared at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to four waste offences.
The court heard that in February last year, one of Durham County Council’s neighbourhood wardens was called to a fly-tip behind Roseberry Street in No Place, near Stanley.
On searching the waste, which included car wheels, cupboard doors, wood and other household items, the warden found evidence linking the waste to two addresses. Further investigations confirmed Adams’ Ford transit van had been used to take waste from one of the addresses.
And when he failed to respond to a notice requiring him to attend an interview to assist investigations into how it ended up being dumped, the council moved to prosecute him. The court also heard that earlier in the same month, a council neighbourhood warden had observed Adams’ van travelling slowly through back streets in New Kyo, near Stanley.
The warden became suspicious when witnessing a male passenger hanging out of the moving van and peering into gardens, and called police to assist in stopping the vehicle. The stop took place a short time later at Drum Industrial Estate in Chester-le-Street and the warden asked Adams, who was driving, if he was licensed to carry waste.
Adams said he didn’t have his papers with him and was given a notice requiring him to produce his waste carriers’ licence and waste transfer notes within seven days. When he failed to respond to the notice, he was issued with two £300 fixed penalty notices, each reduced to £180 if paid within 10 days, which he failed to pay.
In mitigation at court, Adams’ legal representative said he’d entered guilty pleas at the first opportunity. She added that a relative takes his post in for him so he may have missed the council’s correspondence, though he accepts he should take responsibility for his own post.
Adams was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £704 costs as well as a £154 victim surcharge.
Ian Hoult, neighbourhood protection manager at Durham County Council, said: “We will always take action against anyone connected with waste being dumped illegally, and failing to respond to our requests to assist our investigations or to pay fixed penalty notices will only land those people in even more trouble.
“In this case, our warden showed good instincts and their suspicions that this van and its occupants were engaging in unlawful activity were confirmed to be wholly accurate. The fact they identified this while out on patrol shows why our proactive approach to tackling environmental crime is proving so effective.
“We know our residents feel very strongly about fly-tipping and our message to the public is to report any information or intelligence to us. Details such as the descriptions of the vehicles and people involved are a massive help to us in tracking down those responsible and we always appreciate the public’s assistance in these matters.”
For more information on how to report fly-tipping, and how to make sure you dispose of your waste legally and responsibly, visit www.durham.gov.uk/flytipping.
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