Beware hiring cowboy rubbish collectors, or you could face a fine

Fly tipping.
Fly tipping.

Don’t trust a ‘white van man’ offering to get rid of your rubbish on the cheap.

That’s the message from Northumberland County Council’s Public Health Protection Unit after a string of fly-tipping incidents from unscrupulous waste collectors.

Residents are being warned they could end up in court if they fall for a growing criminal scam in which they pay, in good faith, to have their bulky waste taken away by people posing as legitimate waste collectors, but who then, to avoid costs, go on to fly tip the very material they were being paid to pick up.

Householders should be particularly wary of businesses that only operate through social media and do not seem to have a landline phone number or business address. They should also be wary of anyone coming to their door offering to take away rubbish cheaply.

Residents employing a waste removal firm should always ask to see the relevant waste transfer notes and they should also ask to see a waste carrier’s licence issued by the Environment Agency.

This is really important as if you make the mistake of employing an unlicensed waste carrier and they dump your waste illegally - you could also be fined along with them.

Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for public protection said: “Our goal is to educate people. Residents need to ensure that they use a registered waste carrier, who will dispose of their waste lawfully at an authorised site, or run the risk of prosecution. The onus is on the owner of the waste to make sure it is disposed of lawfully.”

Residents wanting extra rubbish cleared can call Northumberland County Council who provide a bulky waste collection service for a modest fee ( £16 for one bulky item, £32 for upto 4 items, £64 for upto 8 items, with all charges reduced by 50% 8 for concessions). Alternatively, residents with their own transport can take any excess household waste to their nearest Household Waste Recovery Centre where they can dispose of it free of charge.

Fly-tipping is an illegal activity and should be reported immediately. The quicker cases are reported, the more chance there is of catching the culprits. You can do this online at www.northumberland.gov.uk or by ringing the Council on 0345 600 6400.