The man behind a dodgy business that fly-tipped waste it collected has been ordered to pay almost £5,000.

Joshua Richard Brown, 25, was found to have picked up waste from innocent shopkeepers who thought he was running a legitimate operation.

Initially, pictures of their fly-tipped rubbish in Harperley Lane in Stanley surfaced on Facebook and they faced negative comments on social media from people who believed they were the culprits.

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The shopkeepers were able to provide Durham County Council neighbourhood wardens who found the fly tip with CCTV footage showing Brown collecting the waste and give details of the company they had paid to remove it – JC Rubbish Removals.

The Northern Echo: Waste fly-tipped on Harperley Lane.Waste fly-tipped on Harperley Lane. (Image: DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL)

Further waste was found at Stoney Heap which also included items that showed the shopkeepers' address.

Brown, of Gray Terrace, Stanley, with his distinctive facial tattoo, was later spotted leaving an address in Catchgate.

Wardens delivered a letter calling him for an interview and checks revealed that a J Brown Recycling was advertising from the property.

During the interview, Brown admitted he was the owner of the business and took full responsibility for both fly-tips.

He admitted being aware that two employees intended to fly-tip waste for him and accepted he didn’t have any official paperwork about collecting and disposing of the waste.

He pleaded not guilty to fly-tipping but failed to attend a court date.

Peterlee Magistrates Court found him guilty in his absence and fined him £2,640 and ordered him to pay costs of £1,130.70 and a £1,056 victim surcharge, totalling £4,826.70.

He was also handed a Criminal Behaviour Order for five years requiring him to produce a valid Waste Carriers Licence and complete proper documents for any waste he handles. Failing to do so could see him hurled back before the courts.

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Ian Hoult, the council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We are determined to prevent fly-tipping in County Durham and hope that the substantial costs and Community Behaviour Order issued in this case will deter others who might consider dumping waste illegally.

“With so many ways to dispose of waste responsibly, there is no excuse for fly-tipping. We hope this incident highlights anyone involved will be held accountable, even if they do not personally dispose of the rubbish.

“Engaging the services of dishonest waste carriers can also have poor consequences for people and in this case caused distress and reputational damage to those who paid to have their rubbish removed. I would encourage anyone who has waste to dispose of to check that they are employing a reputable company.”