SOMERSET councils and police have joined forces in a ‘co-operation agreement’ to crack down on fly-tipping.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary and councils in Somerset have signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ for investigating crimes under the Environmental Protection Act, which means they will share information about possible offenders, identifying potentially violent individuals and arresting suspects for interviews about fly-tipping.
The agreement is part of a wide range of actions taken by council enforcement officers to combat fly-tipping, from new training, equipment and warning signs to leaflets and adverts.
Councils will also aim to reduce fly-tipping by urging residents and businesses to ensure tradespeople and others charging people to remove their rubbish have a waste carrier's licence.
So far, councils in Somerset have launched a series of prosecutions against offenders who have paid fines and costs totalling hundreds of pounds. New guidelines being introduced this month could mean jail terms and £3million in fines for major offences.
Inspector Nic Crocker, police Somerset Area Operational Lead for Anti-Social Behaviour, said: "This memorandum demonstrates that the police will support local authorities in investigating breaches of environment protection legislation, providing resources and technical assistance.
"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."
Further Somerset prosecutions for fly-tipping and duty-of-care failures – when refuse taken by others is dumped because householders or businesses did not check they were licensed to carry waste – are expected in the coming weeks and months.
In April, Bridgwater and four other busy Somerset recycling sites began opening from 8am to 4pm, seven days a week, to help combat the amount of rubbish left in fly-tipping hot spots.
For more information on preventing fly-tipping, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk