An organised fly-tipping gang has been convicted for fly-tipping and burning waste.
The group appeared at Winchester Crown Court following a three-month covert camera operation and investigation by Wiltshire Council environmental enforcement officers.
They were caught dumping large amounts of green waste, household waste and white goods on an access road leading to a traveller site at Lode Hill, near Downton.
On November 18 at Winchester Crown Court, fines and costs were handed out to the gang totalling £14,500.
Shane Griggs of Bracken Road, North Baddesley, Hampshire; Jason Castle of Wellow Wood Road, West Wellow, Hampshire; and Daniel Whittaker of Magnolia Walk, Abbotswood, Hampshire, were convicted of depositing controlled waste (fly-tipping) with no environmental permit.
Also convicted were Luke Edwards of Verwood Road, Wimborne, Dorset, and Michael Whittaker of Meadow Close, West Wellow, Hampshire, who are directors of Romsey & Chandlers Ford Tree & Landscaping Services.
They were convicted of a more serious offence of operating a regulated facility on land without an environmental permit by burning waste, including a fridge.
Edwards, Griggs and Michael Whittaker were all residents at the Lode Hill Traveller Site, Downton, Wiltshire at the time of the offences.
The offenders were part of several tree and landscaping firms who collected waste of
all types as part of their business activity.
They were filmed over a three-month period on an access road leading to a traveller site at Lode Hill near Downton.
The offenders were using the site access road as a waste dumping ground. Much of the waste was burnt, including green waste, a fridge, carpet and general waste, causing environmental damage to the surrounding area.
The council’s enforcement officers were alerted to the gang’s activities by local people, leading to regular monitoring of the area through covert cameras.
Once the required evidence was gathered, environmental enforcement officers spent many hours painstakingly going through the footage to catch the fly-tippers in action.
Council officers then joined officers from Wiltshire Police to arrest the offenders, who were interviewed under caution.
Although the prosecution began in the Magistrates Court, the case was referred for trial to the Crown Court after the defendants pleaded not guilty to the offences.
Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, cabinet member for waste, said: “This organised fly-tipping gang was prolific in destroying the local environment in this area.
“Not only were they avoiding lawful disposal costs by dumping this and not using approved waste sites, but they were also damaging the surrounding areas by burning waste including white goods, which gave off poisonous fumes.
“This successful prosecution is the result of many years of painstaking work by our environmental enforcement team. The team was tenacious in its pursuit of this gang, who claimed to have no involvement at the time.
“However, our ability to apprehend offenders by utilising cameras was key in proving that these people were the culprits in this long-running case.
“As set out in our business plan, we have committed to pursuing further prosecutions on fly-tipping, and to help with this we have invested significant funding into more cameras and more officers to catch these environmental criminals in the act throughout Wiltshire.
“Our message to any potential fly-tippers is clear: ‘We’re Targeting Fly-tippers’ and we will prosecute anyone who thinks it is acceptable to dump their waste in our beautiful county.”
To find out more about the council’s We’re Targeting Fly-tippers (WTF) campaign, and to find out more about how to prevent fly-tipping, visit: