Fylde Council has pledged to leave no stone unturned in its bid to clamp down on the scourge of fly-tipping.
The illegal dumping of rubbish has taken a sinister new turn in recent weeks as it has spread to residential areas, sparking outrage among householders and civic representatives.
Hot on the heels of our front page report in last week’s Express of grandmother Helen Harrison having her car trapped in her garage by a 150-tonne pile of rubbish dumped behind her Lytham home, St Annes resident Jenny Harris highlighted a similar situation in Wyre Street, St Annes.
Now, the councillor responsible for waste disposal matters at Fylde has pulled no punches in vowing to come down hard on anyone found responsible for fly-tipping – and has stressed how vital it is that anyone seeing it taking place reports it.
“This is a criminal offence and we will not hesitate to prosecute,” said Coun Albert Pounder, the council’s cabinet member for customer and operational services.
“Fines can be up to £50,000 and fly-tippers can even be jailed for up to 12 months.
“We won’t tolerate this anti-social behaviour.”
Ms Harris found the rubbish on returning home on a late Saturday afternoon as she attempted to park her car in Wyre Street, which runs behind Hope Street and Curzon Road.
“The road was strewn with what looked like a garden shed, fencing, builders rubble, paint and lots of glass,” she said.
“My partner has been home all day working in the bathroom and didn’t know anything about it. It was a real shock.
“We contacted Fylde Council via its helpline later in the weekend and they came along with a digger and a lorry and did a great job clearing up the mess.”
Coun Pounder added: “Fly-tipping has increased by about a third over the last three years and the reasons why aren’t clear.
“It is sheer irresponsibility and also unnecessary as the council will remove bulky household items for a small charge.
“The council will also remove bulky commercial waste and there is, of course, a household waste recycling centre.
“There are also commercial waste removers – so there really is no excuse at all.
“Part of the problem may be that some commercial firms do not have the correct licence and so it is easier for them to just dump the rubbish.
“The council has conducted occasional checks for licences and these will continue.
“We investigate every incident for identifying features such as envelopes containing addresses.
“In fact, we are increasing the number of staff trained to conduct these investigations before the rubbish is removed.
“Most fly-tippers, however, remove all identifying features before they dump the stuff so we appeal once more for members of the public who see anything suspicious to let us know as soon as possible and make notes of number plates and descriptions of the vehicle and the fly-tippers involved.”
Former St Annes mayor Coun Viv Willder, whose Heyhouses ward covers Wyre Street, said: “It is shocking to hear of fly-tipping spreading to residential areas and we urgently need to find out where it is coming from any who is doing this. I would urge anyone who sees any such activity to take details of the vehicle and photographs if possible and make sure it is reported so every effort can be made to locate the culprits.”
Anyone wanting to report fly-tipping or to request removal of bulky waste should telephone Fylde Council on (01253) 658658.