Dozens of people have been caught and prosecuted for fly-tipping across County Durham in the past year. 

Figures show incidents of fly-tipping remain at a historically low 5,266 - but Durham County Council has toughened its stance on those caught flouting the law. 

As part of an enhanced crackdown on the crime, the local authority removed the discount for early payment of fines in July. Before the discounts ended, people caught could see their £400 fine reduced to £180 if they paid early. 

A total of 15 prosecutions have been carried out in the past year, as part of ‘proactive action against perpetrators’. 

Surveillance has also helped catch criminals, with 43 incidents captured on CCTV. The county council issued 67 fines for fly-tipping and waste carrier offences as well as seizing three vehicles. 

The new rules also apply to all environmental offences, which includes dropping litter, dog fouling. abandoning vehicles and ignoring notices to clear waste from properties.

Following a peak in 2020/21 during the pandemic, incidents of fly-tipping have reduced and are lower than the previous two periods. 

Other action taken by the council to tackle fly-tipping includes regular ‘stop and check’ operations being carried out alongside partners to check waste carriers are licensed. CCTV cameras are installed in areas which are known to have issues with fly-tipping and each time rubbish is dumped, officers look for evidence of who the waste belongs to.

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Cllr Mark Wilkes, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, has previously urged residents to lawfully dispose of their waste. 

He said: “Fly-tipping will not be tolerated in County Durham and we are pleased to see that levels have significantly reduced as we continue to tackle the issue. This is an issue that our communities raise. 

“It is important to them and to us and we hope this highlights our commitment to taking action against anyone who is found to have dumped waste and to using both enforcement and education to reduce levels even further.”