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'Facebook fly-tipper' banned from driving and will have vehicle crushed after Wiltshire Council prosecution

Wiltshire Council has secured another successful prosecution in the fight against fly-tipping, after Mr Nicholas Farmer, of Camelot Close, Andover, appeared at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Thursday 6 October and pleaded guilty to multiple environmental offences.

Published 10 October 2022

Wiltshire Council has secured another successful prosecution in the fight against fly-tipping, after Mr Nicholas Farmer, of Camelot Close, Andover, appeared at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Thursday 6 October and pleaded guilty to multiple environmental offences. 

The offences included two counts of fly-tipping waste; two counts of failing in his duty of care when managing controlled waste; failing to produce waste transfer notes for his waste collection business; and transporting controlled waste without a waste carrier licence.

The council presented evidence to the court that Mr Farmer advertised on a local Facebook community group offering a rubbish collection service, despite having no waste carrier licence.

A Marlborough householder paid £60 for Mr Farmer to collect the waste, and it was then dumped in separate locations in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the outskirts of Marlborough, at Wootton Rivers Road and Ram Alley Lane.

The Magistrates imposed an 80-hour Community Order, which could include litter picking and clearing waste; an immediate three-month disqualification from driving; and Mr Farmer was also ordered to pay £750 in costs to Wiltshire Council. In addition to this, the court issued a Vehicle Forfeiture Order that deprives Mr Farmer of his Ford Transit van used to fly-tip the waste. The van will be destroyed and recycled in the future.

The homeowner whose waste was found fly-tipped was issued with a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice (reduced to £200 if paid within 10 days) for giving their waste to Mr Farmer and not checking that he had the appropriate licence to carry and dispose of the waste appropriately or other important checks.

The council worked in partnership with both Wiltshire Police and Test Valley Borough Council in this investigation and thanked them for their cooperation.

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport and Waste, said: "This prosecution highlights the growing problem of rogue unlicensed waste collectors advertising on local Facebook community groups and then fly-tipping the waste to avoid lawful disposal charges.

"These people think they can pocket the cash and dump the waste without repercussions, but as this successful prosecution shows, we will not tolerate fly-tipping in Wiltshire.

"I would urge the administrators of social media community groups to ensure anyone advertising waste clearance or scrap metal collection is correctly licensed, and ensure any adverts fully display a valid upper tier waste carrier licence number. This would help to protect people from rogue waste collectors and enable to the council to trace fly-tippers.

"The court's decision to deprive Mr Farmer of his driving licence and vehicle shows how seriously they are taking fly-tipping. This sentence sends a strong message that Wiltshire Council will pursue all fly-tippers.

"In our business plan we have committed to pursuing fly-tipping prosecutions, and we have recently invested in new equipment and officers to help us to proactively increase our enforcement duties."

The council advises people against using rubbish clearance services without checking they are fully licensed to take waste away, noting down their valid upper tier waste carrier licence number and details of any vehicle used, such as the make, model and registration number. Residents and businesses should also obtain a receipt or waste transfer note from any waste collector.

If a business or individual offers to take away waste cheaply, it very likely to end up being fly-tipped and people could end up with a Fixed Penalty Notice and a bill for the clear up costs.

People can report fly-tipping using the My Wiltshire app or at My Wilts online reporting.

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