A COMPANY boss has called for an end to fly tipping which is blighting a business park.

Cases of fly tipping across Sedgefield borough have almost doubled in the last year and a number of businesses on Aycliffe Industrial Estate, Newton Aycliffe, say they are fed up.

Ian Simmonds, a director of Northern Power Clean Ltd, said household and garden waste had been dumped close to his and neighbouring premises.

He said: "It is disgusting. It looks a mess and as the weather gets warmer it is starting to stink as well.

"It is an absolute disgrace for people to dump it regardless of the affect on local businesses.

"I'm not the only one whose noticed the problem getting worse."

Mr Simmonds believes most of the waste has been dumped by people who have been turned away from the nearby civic amenities site because they do not hold a permit.

Durham County Council launched the permit scheme in December to prevent firms tipping refuse illegally at its 17 civic amenity sites by pretending to be private ratepayers.

Councillor Brian Myers, the county council's cabinet member for waste minimisation and management, said: "It is unfair to blame our waste permit system for any or all incidents of fly tipping without any supporting evidence.

"The waste permit system is free, easy to use and has proved very effective, and anyone who requires a permit can obtain up to five permits at any one time by applying to the county council by post or online."

He said a fly-tipping enforcement officer had been appointed to track down and identify offenders and take them to court when appropriate.

Last month, the Government announced tougher penalties for fly-tipping - including a maximum £50,000 fine at magistrates court or an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison at crown court.

A spokesperson for Sedgefield Borough Council, which has to clear illegally dumped rubbish from around the district, said: "From January to March 2004, there were 333 incidents of fly-tipping reported, there were 592 in the same period this year.

"It is difficult to identify a single reason for this increase but we would urge people to think about their actions.

"The county council's permit system should be adhered to."