Hefty fines for people ignoring requests to clear waste

FAILING to remove waste from their back yards has left four people with a combined bill of almost £4,000.

Large amounts of general and household waste were left to accumulate at three properties located in Horden, Shildon and Langley Park last year, while at a house in Murton, large quantities of dog faeces were left for weeks.

Durham County Council’s neighbourhood wardens visited each of the properties after either receiving complaints from members of the public or spotting the waste while patrolling the area.

In each case, community protection warnings were issued giving the property owner or resident involved seven days to clear the waste. When these went unheeded, the council issued community protection notices, which allowed a further 14 days to tidy up the mess, but to no avail.

Fixed penalty notices of £100 each were then issued but went unpaid, prompting the council to prosecute those responsible for breaching a community protection notice.

None of the defendants attended Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court for their hearings and the cases were heard in their absence. Each received a £440 fine, plus costs, with the amount owed totalling £3,818.

Oliver Sherratt, head of environment at Durham County Council, said: “County Durham is full of people who care about their communities and the place they live.

“That’s why it’s important we act when individuals act in a way that spoils the local environment for everyone. In cases like these, our first approach is always to talk to the people involved and, more often than not, we resolve the issue that way.

“However, if people fail to engage with us and take responsibility, they should expect to face the consequences. In this case a considerable fine and a criminal conviction.

“Allowing household waste and dog faeces to accumulate is not just unsightly it is a health hazard and council taxpayers should not have to foot the bill to having it removed.”

For more information about rubbish and recycling in County Durham, visit https://www.durham.gov.uk/recycling.

To report rubbish in garden and yards, visit www.durham.gov.uk/asb

The Northern Echo | Durham