ISN’T it sad that so many people think it is ok to fly-tip their waste in other people’s back alleys and country lanes? In fact, it is staggering that there are so many people – including tradesmen – in our midst who think it is acceptable to desecrate our environment.

There is real, and growing, anger about this laziness.

There were 3,267 reports of fly-tipping to Darlington council in the last year, an increase of 123 on the previous year – so the pandemic, when the tips were closed or operating by appointment, cannot be blamed.

There appear to be two types of fly-tippers: slovenly people who think nothing of dumping their rubbish in someone else's back yard, and then the DIY builders who take a van-load of rubble to a quiet country lane and tip it.

We can all ensure that when we have building work done we ask that awkward question about where the waste is going, but the biggest deterrent is for the fly-tippers to be caught or traced, and then prosecuted and named and shamed.

And, sadly, the tippers clearly think they can get away with it.

Darlington has six cases waiting to come to court, but that is only the tip of the smelly, ugly iceberg given the 3,267 reports. Perhaps initiatives like community skips can prevent some of the tipping, but these people are usually cowards – they tip under the cover of darkness in the hope no one is looking, so when they are caught, they have the spotlight shone on them, across all media.