A man as been left with a bill of more than £1,400 after waste from his address was found fly-tipped on a country lane.

Preston Hamilton, 31, of Richardson Court in Willington, appeared at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court following a prosecution by Durham County Council.

The court heard that in October last year, the council’s neighbourhood wardens were called to a fly-tip on a country lane between High Grange and Hunwick.

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After finding evidence linking the waste to Hamilton’s address, a warden called at his home and left a calling card when nobody answered the door.

Hamilton then contacted the warden by telephone and said he accepted that the waste had come from his address, but he couldn’t remember who had taken it away for him.

He said he wouldn’t be able to provide any waste transfer notes or any other paperwork that might assist in the investigation.

In November, a warden hand delivered a notice to Hamilton’s address requiring him to attend an interview to assist investigations into how the waste came to be dumped.

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And when he didn’t respond, the council prosecuted Hamilton for failing to assist its investigation and failing to ensure his waste was transferred by authorised person.

Hamilton pleaded guilty to two waste offences but in mitigation he told the court he did not receive the notice as he had moved out of his partner’s address.

He also said he had given the waste to “a relative” to dispose of for him.

He was fined £500 for failing to take measures to ensure his waste was transferred by an authorised person and ordered to pay £704 in costs as well as a £200 victim surcharge.

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He received no penalty in relation to failing to assist the council’s investigation.

Ian Hoult, neighbourhood protection manager at Durham County Council, said: “The overriding message here is that your waste is your responsibility.

“If someone offers to dispose of your waste for you, always ask to see their waste carrier licence, make a note of their waste carrier number and get a waste transfer note.

“If your waste is found dumped somewhere else you need to be able to show us that you took all reasonable steps to make sure it was disposed of properly.

“If you can't demonstrate you’ve taken such steps then you’re leaving yourself open to prosecution.

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“There are all sorts of ways of disposing of your waste responsibly, from booking a bulky waste collection to taking it to one of our household waste recycling centres.

“If you’re not sure about the options available to you, just visit our website or get in touch and we'll be happy to advise.

“Fly-tipping is an issue we know our residents feel very strongly about and we always encourage people to report any incidents, information or intelligence to us.”