A MAN who was caught on camera fly-tipping garden waste near boarding kennels has been left counting the cost.

Richard David Willas, 23, of Stanley, County Durham, has been successfully prosecuted by Durham County Council as part of its Operation Stop It campaign which was set up to tackle the illegal dumping of waste.

Unemployed Willas pleaded guilty at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court to a charge of illegally depositing controlled waste.

Magistrates were told how the council had placed a CCTV camera on a road leading to Beamish Boarding Kennels as part of Operation Stop It, which sees the authority work with partners to take action against fly-tippers and encourage people to dispose of waste responsibly.

On 27 June last year, a large amount of garden waste including branches and soil was found dumped at the site.

A council neighbourhood warden checked footage from the camera. This showed a white van pull up the previous night and a man get out and dump the waste over a period of seven minutes.

The warden carried out checks on the vehicle which showed that it was insured by a national environmental company.

When asked who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, the company gave Willas’ name and his Cheviot Terrace address.

Council checks confirmed the defendant was living at the address.

In Willas’ defence, the court heard he had been working at the time of the offence and had used a van to dispose of garden waste which he could have got rid of at one of the council’s tips free of charge.

He accepted that this would be an annoyance and concern to those who saw the dumped waste.

Magistrates told Willas his dumping of the waste “was a very silly thing to do” given it could have been taken to a tip.

They ordered him to pay £490 – a fine of £160, £300 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

Ian Hoult, Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We know how irate people get about fly-tipping and we feel exactly the same.

“That is why we use CCTV cameras as part of Operation Stop It, both to catch offenders and as a deterrent.

“One of our cameras caught Mr Willas fly-tipping waste which he could have taken to one of our household waste recycling centres free of charge.

“There are so many ways to get rid of waste responsibly and the vast majority of our residents do so. However we hope this case will send out a warning to the minority that we will take the strongest possible action if they do not.”