Join us in bid to name flytippers

Laura Bagshaw FLYtipping costs taxpayers in the borough of Great Yarmouth thousands of pounds a year and staggering figures released recently show the extent to which the town is used as a dumping ground.

Laura Bagshaw

FLYtipping costs taxpayers in the borough of Great Yarmouth thousands of pounds a year and staggering figures released recently show the extent to which the town is used as a dumping ground.

Last year, there were more than 5,200 reports of flytipping in the borough and this week the Mercury is launching a campaign to catch and convict people responsible for littering the streets.

We're looking for fed-up residents who want to stop flytipping in their streets and alleyways and in public areas - and see those who dump their problems on to other people get their comeuppance. And why not include irresponsible dog owners who allow their pets to foul the pavements?

Our secret Flytip Spies will operate from behind their net curtains, noting down dates and times or flytipping and, we hope, taking a picture of the offenders. You must not put yourself in harm's way or jeopardise your family or home.

The Flytip Spies will be anonymous to everyone around them, and the information they pass on to us will be handed over to the borough council for action to be taken. The information will, therefore, be coming from the Mercury - and we don't reveal our sources!

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We want to blanket the borough with Flytip Spies; one in every street, avenue, road, terrace and lane. You could set up a small group if you want, and share the responsibility. We will ask you to fill in the form on this page and send it to us. The information will NOT be published, nor divulged. It will be our contact with you.

Then, every week, we will update the list of streets which are being covered by our Flytip Spies and, we hope, the flytippers will get wise and stay away; if not, then they had better watch out!

And when the flytippers go to court, we'll be there to name and shame them!

INFORMATION from the public is key to catching the flytippers in your area.

Paul Shucksmith, senior environmental ranger at the borough council, said: “Intelligence from the public is very important. We continually ask people to report everything to us - without that, it causes us an obstacle.”

Witness statements from members of the public, CCTV and stake-outs are some of the methods used by the council to catch flytippers.

Mr Shucksmith added: “We also search bags for evidence. If we find documents with a person's name and address, it is not enough to secure a conviction but it gives us a lead.”

The biggest problem area at the moment is the slip road off Gapton Hall Road, close to the retail park.

“It's is a problem area for the simple reason it is easily accessible but just tucked away enough for people to do what they want.”

Mr Shucksmith said rubbish was dumped there at least once a month.

“It might not happen for a couple of weeks but then a lorry load will turn up. I would imagine those responsible are doing it for commercial gain - charging people to take their rubbish away but not disposing of it legally. In terms of this, our message would be that if you are going to pay someone to remove your rubbish, make sure they are legitimate first. As a member of the public, if you use a waste carrier, you can be held fully responsible for flytipping.”

Other hotspots include bottle banks across the borough and alleyways in the town centre.

“We found a lot of rubbish from Christmas had been dumped at these sites but we have hit them hard over the last year. Another problem area is the alleyways in the town centre with people dumping black bags. Quite often people do not think they are committing a crime.”

Mr Shucksmith said, depending on what evidence the council gathered over a flytipping case, people could also receive warnings.

He said it was quite a different story in rural areas where people would expect most flytipping to take place.

“There is a difference between the type of items flytipped in rural and urban areas.

“People's perception of flytipping is the white van man driving out into the sticks and dumping rubbish. Flytipping in rural areas is quite infrequent so it makes it difficult for us to trace the culprit. Because it is so infrequent, you never know when it's going to happen. We couldn't leave a camera somewhere on the basis we think flytipping might happen.”

Mr Shucksmith said bulky items were usually dumped in rural areas as opposed to black bags of rubbish which the urban areas mainly suffered with.