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Net tightens on Somerset fly-tippers

Fly tipping on the roads near Frome.

Fly tipping on the roads near Frome.

Growing cooperation between police and Somerset’s local authorities has gone online in the fight against fly-tipping.

With rogue waste traders using the web to tout for customers whose rubbish they later fly-tip, council enforcement officers have been briefed by police about internet forensics.

The training included how criminals try to mask their identity online, data searching, issues of personal security, and how to track fly-tippers through their digital footprints.

The training has followed new sentencing guidelines offering tougher penalties for the worst fly-tippers and an innovative cooperation agreement between councils and police to take action against waste dumpers in Somerset.

The new memorandum of understand (MoU) includes sharing information about possible offenders, identifying potentially violent individuals, checking vehicles on the Police National Computer and arresting suspects for interviews about fly-tipping crimes.

New sentencing guidelines used by all courts from 1st July could mean harsher penalties, including jail terms and £3million fines, for the very worst fly-tipping offences.

The latest police training is part of a wide range of actions taken by council enforcement officers against fly-tipping, from new equipment and warning signs to leaflets and adverts.

Councils also aim to reduce the fly-tipping ‘supply’ by urging residents and businesses to ensure tradespeople and others removing rubbish have a waste carrier’s licence. This can be done online or by phone through the Environment Agency.

Inspector Nic Crocker, the police’s Somerset area operational lead for anti-social behaviour said, “Potential offenders should be on notice that their anti-social activity, focused on quick profit, will not be tolerated. The damage caused and the impact it has on communities affected is unacceptable.”

Somerset’s councils have launched a series of prosecutions against offenders, who have received fines and costs that total hundreds of pounds, and offered tools and tips for every resident to fight fly-tipping at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.