Facebook 'tip run' operator prosecuted by Wiltshire Council
A previously jailed fly-tipper has been ordered to pay £4,037.93 in fines and costs following another successful prosecution for environmental offences by Wiltshire Council.
On Monday 14 October 2019, Mr Jamie Alexander Kerley aged 30 of Woodbury House, Woodbury Rise, Salisbury pleaded guilty to four environmental offences at Swindon Magistrates Court.
The offences included transporting controlled waste without an upper tier waste carriers licence, failing to produce authority to transport controlled waste when requested to do so by the council, failure to produce waste transfer notes in relation to waste he had collected and for operating as an unlicensed scrap metal collector in Wiltshire.
Mr Kerley, owner and managing director of JCK Tree Care Ltd. was due to appear before Salisbury Magistrates on 9 September 2019 but failed to attend to enter a plea - this resulted in the court issuing a warrant for his arrest. He was subsequently arrested on Saturday 12 October 2019 in Portsmouth, transported to Swindon and held in custody for two days until his hearing on Monday 14 October, where he pleaded guilty to all charges.
The court heard that Mr Kerley was previously prosecuted by Wiltshire Council in February 2017 for eight counts of fly-tipping around Wiltshire, which resulted in him serving a three-month prison sentence.
Wiltshire Council's Environmental Enforcement team investigated Mr Kerley following a report from a member of public, who spotted him advertising for waste collection services on Facebook, despite having no licence to do so and having previous convictions for fly-tipping.
He was served with a formal legal notice that required him to produce Waste Transfer Notes to Wiltshire Council, which would have shown how he had been disposing of the waste lawfully, which he had collected from his recent Facebook 'tip run' adverts.
He was unable to produce any of the requested documentation and could not demonstrate to Wiltshire Council that he had been lawfully disposing of waste at a commercial waste tip.
He was also unable to produce the correct upper tier waste carriers licence that is required to transport non-green waste. He was given the opportunity to pay two fixed penalty notices of £300 but failed to do so. A further investigation into Mr Kerley revealed he'd also been dealing in scrap metal in the Wiltshire area without being licensed to do so by Wiltshire Council.
The court also heard how he was still advertising for waste clearance services on Facebook selling sites across Wiltshire and Andover right up until the day of his arrest on Saturday 12 October 2019.
Mr Kerley was falsely advertising that he was correctly licensed to take waste away, when he had not been.
The magistrates ordered him to immediately cease advertising for waste clearance services on social media and to remove the adverts he recently posted on Facebook selling sites.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Transport, Highways & Waste said, "This prosecution highlights the important role the public play in thoroughly checking the credentials of anyone they pay to take their waste".
The public have a legal responsibility to ensure their waste is only transferred to an operator with an upper tier waste carriers' licence. People should not solely rely on claims made in adverts posted on social media that they are licensed.
Cllr Robert Yuill, Portfolio Holder for Waste said: "A simple check of the carrier's details would in most cases prevent waste being fly-tipped. When using a contractor a note should be made of their Environment Agency license details before paying them to remove waste. If the price being charged seems cheap it's likely that they are not licensed and the waste will probably end up being fly-tipped, in which case the householder or waste producer is also at risk of a fine. Alternatively, the council can arrange for the collection of bulky waste which will go to a licensed tip, a small price to pay to ensure correct disposal.
Wiltshire Council urge all the administrators of these social media selling sites to ensure they check the credentials of people that advertise for 'tip runs' on their pages to ensure clamp down on fly-tipping. Many change their names and social media profiles to avoid being detected as being previously prosecuted or not having the correct licences.
They would also like to thank the member of the public that reported Mr Kerley using the online reporting tool 'My Wiltshire' which resulted in the investigation into his activities.
People can report unlicensed waste collectors and scrap metal collectors using My Wilts online reporting.
This prosecution highlights the important role the public play in thoroughly checking the credentials of anyone they pay to take their waste