as part of a crackdown on flytipping, businesses in County Durham have been warned not to let unlicensed operators dispose of their waste.

The campaign is being led by the county's recently appointed fly-tipping officer Jim Crammon, who said warnings had been issued to ten householders and businesses who had allowed their waste to be taken away by people acting illegally.

His post is jointly funded by the Environment Agency, Durham County Council and five district and borough councils - Durham City, Chester-le-Street, Sedgefield, Derwentside and Wear Valley.

Mr Crammon was speaking after a 35-year-old man from Chester-le-Street was fined £1,000 at North Durham Magistrates' Court for dumping green waste in a layby near Perkinsville, County Durham. The man was also ordered to pay costs of £700.39 to the Environment Agency, which brought the case.

Although the man had taken the waste from a private householder, the law can apply equally to businesses. He was charged with depositing controlled waste, namely green waste, on land adjacent to the A693 when a Waste Management Licence authorising the deposit was not in force.

The offence was contrary to Sections 33 (1)(a) and 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The garden waste, made up of tree cuttings, was dumped in May. The man was traced when his vehicle registration number, noted down by a passer-by.

Five further fly-tipping cases in County Durham are pending, and more than a dozen cases are being investigated.

It was the first of Mr Crammon's cases to come to court.

The former police officer said: "Flytipping costs taxpayers thousands of pounds each year and is a blight on the communities it affects. Fly-tippers in County Durham have more to worry about these days as the agency and local councils work closer together to catch environmental criminals."

In County Durham, fly-tippers can be reported on 0191-383 5595.

Published: 16/11/2004