A MECHANIC who was caught on CCTV dumping a bin bag full of rubbish in woodland has been ordered to pay almost £1,800.

The footage showed Graham Makepeace, of May Street, Bishop Auckland, pretend to check his car tyres when another vehicle drove past whilst in reality he was dumping the waste.

Magistrates in Newton Aycliffe heard Makepeace’s actions came to light after a Durham County Council neighbourhood warden discovered the rubbish within a gated wooded area in Gurney Valley in Coundon Grange, near Bishop Auckland, in May 2020.

The warden checked the CCTV footage from a camera at this location, which showed the offence taking place and the registration number of the vehicle.

Checks revealed the car’s registered keeper was Makepeace’s son who was contacted on May15 and asked to attend an interview.

However, on June 2, Makepeace telephoned the neighbourhood warden and explained that he was the father of the registered keeper and responsible for the offence.

The 49-year-old was issued with a fixed penalty notice in July but, despite being sent a reminder letter, this was not paid.

A section 108 notice was served on October 20 requesting Makepeace contact the warden by November 3 and attend an interview on November 12. However, he did not respond and failed to attend the interview and the case went to court.

Makepeace pleaded guilty to depositing controlled waste without an environmental permit and failing to assist an investigation into a flytipping incident.

His solicitor highlighted how he had no previous convictions and had accepted responsibility for his actions, contacting the warden directly to provide his details. The court also heard he had lost his job last year due to the coronavirus pandemic but is now back in employment.

Magistrates fined Makepeace £1,292 and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £129 and costs of £362.07.

The CCTV camera that captured the offence is one of many located in flytipping hotspots across County Durham as part of Operation Stop It – a joint campaign led by Durham County Council, Durham police, Crimestoppers and the Environment Agency to reduce flytipping through education and enforcement.

The campaign has led to a significant decrease in flytipping incidents across County Durham since it started. However, there has been an increase during the pandemic.

Ian Hoult, the council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We know flytipping is a major concern for our communities and this prosecution shows that we will take action against those who dump waste illegally and fail to cooperate with our investigations.

“Thankfully, most people in County Durham dispose of their waste responsibly, however we will continue to work with our partners and target those who continually choose to blight the landscape through flytipping.

“There are many ways to dispose of waste correctly such as taking unwanted items to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres or booking a bulky waste collection. There really is no excuse for flytipping.”

To find out more about how to dispose of waste visit www.durham.gov.uk/recycling and to report a flytipping incident, visit www.durham.gov.uk/flytipping.