A Facebook deal went badly wrong and cost a mother-of-three £290 when she ended up in court last week after her rubbish was fly-tipped in a quiet Somerset lane.
Highlighting the “duty of care” every individual and business has to get rid of their waste correctly, Kimberley Tierney, 23, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and fined £95 with a £15 victim surcharge and £180 costs.
Tierney paid someone who advertised on the social media site to take away the waste but she was soon traced after it was discovered dumped in a leafy country back road.
At Somerset magistrates in Taunton, Tierney admitting not taking reasonable measures to ensure transfer of household waste to an authorised person.
The court heard that Tierney, of Winscombe Road, Weston super Mare, hired the Facebook contact to remove her household waste that was piling up in her garden.
The prosecution was brought as part of renewed efforts by all Somerset councils to drive down dumping and deter, catch and convict fly-tippers.
Their efforts include better cooperation with police, new surveillance equipment, warning signs, further training for enforcement officers and monitoring social media.
A Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) spokesman said:
“Everyone has a duty of care to ensure their waste is properly taken by licensed traders to a place that can legally receive the materials.
“Simple steps by residents can cut off the supply of material being fly-tipped and avoid them ending up on a duty-of-care charge in court.
“Never pay cash for waste removal; get a receipt with full contact information, and note the details of vehicles and people taking away your waste.
“Ask any trader taking waste – from builders to man-and-van operators – for their waste carrier licence and where the refuse will go.”
Tierney’s dumped waste was found in Sloway Lane at Stretcholt, near Bridgwater. Solicitor Nigel Osborne prosecuted the case for Sedgemoor District Council.
Check SWP’s website for recycling site opening hours and materials taken or call Somerset Direct on 0845 3459188. Business directories list legitimate waste firms.
For advice on how to report and fight fly-tipping: www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/about/fight-fly-tipping.