Failure to co-operate with fly-tipping investigations leads to fines
A RUGBY couple suspected of fly-tipping have been fined by magistrates after failing to co-operate with a council investigation.
John Hall and Amy Rankin, of Newbold Road, were contacted by officers from Rugby Borough Council's environmental protection team following a report of fly-tipping at Burnside Open Space in March.
The fly-tip of household items included a vacuum cleaner, children's toys and a chair, with items thrown into a hedge and brook.
During a search of the dumped waste, officers found evidence linking the fly-tip to Mr Hall and Ms Rankin, and a check of council tax records showed both lived at an address in Newbold Road.
The council wrote a letter inviting the couple to attend a voluntary interview at the Town Hall.
When neither Hall or Rankin responded to the letter, the couple were served with a notice under section 108 of the Environment Act 1995, requiring both to attend an interview under caution on 24 May.
But when neither attended the interview, the council decided to prosecute the couple for failing to comply with the notice.
Hall and Rankin failed to attend a hearing at Nuneaton's Warwickshire Justice Centre on Tuesday (28 August), but the couple, both 34-years-old, were found guilty by magistrates.
Hall was fined £440 and was ordered to pay £585 costs and a £44 victim surcharge, while Rankin was fined £440 and was ordered to pay £550 costs and a £44 victim surcharge.
In another case heard on Tuesday by magistrates in Nuneaton, Gina-Vasilica Duta was found guilty in her absence of failing to comply with a notice served under section 108 of the Environment Act 1995.
Mrs Duta, of Holmsdale Road, Coventry, was contacted by the council's environmental protection team following a fly-tip on the Fosse Way, Stretton-under-Fosse, in March.
Duta was sent a letter inviting her to attend an informal interview about the fly-tip after a bank card bearing the Duta name was found in the rubbish which had been dumped.
The council served the notice after Duta did not respond to the letter. When Duta failed to attend the interview under caution at the Town Hall on 1 June, the council prosecuted her for failing to comply with the notice.
Magistrates fined Duta £440 and ordered her to pay the council's costs of £619. She was also ordered to pay a £44 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the hearings, Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: "We investigate all fly-tipping incidents reported in the borough and, when we find evidence which could help us identify the culprits, we carry out interviews to gather more information.
"The majority of people help our investigations voluntarily and on occasion there's an innocent explanation for how the evidence came to be discovered in fly-tipped rubbish.
"But the law gives us powers to compel individuals and businesses to attend interviews under caution, and ignoring a notice served under these powers can prove a costly mistake."
Residents can report fly-tipping incidents to the council by calling (01788) 533533 or by completing the online form at www.rugby.gov.uk/flytipping