|Torridge Council Environmental Health and Legal Officers have seen another case of fly-tipping through to a successful prosecution at Barnstaple Magistrates in recent weeks. As a testament to their determination and stamina the case was finally concluded following a 3-hour trial, 9 previous hearings and 2 warrants to persuade the defendant, Graham Budge of Bridgerule, who has since moved to Launcetson, to attend court.|
|The case was first reported last year as an incident of fly-tipping on private land at East Panson Wood near Virginstow. On arrival officers discovered some household furniture, including a double bed base, and a large quantity of domestic household goods, DIY and car waste. Waste had also been flung into the nearby foliage and hedgerows.
An investigation determined that the waste had been collected from a nearby homeowner who wanted to dispose of some items during a house move. The homeowner revealed that they had contacted Graham Budge through Social Media and thought they were dealing with someone who had a licence to remove trade waste. During the Councils investigation, and following a tip-off from a neighbour, the homeowner also discovered that Mr Budge had dumped a further separate van load of waste in a nearby farmer’s field. The owner related a heated argument with Mr Budge but one which ended with the homeowner being forced to retrieve and remove this second load of waste from the farmers field themselves.
Investigating officers heard that although Mr Budge had been asked by the owner for a waste transfer note after the second load of waste had been collected, this was never provided. Following this request for a note Mr Budge never returned to the property to complete the job.
Mr Budge also failed to attend any interviews over the matter or respond to enquiries officers made by letter, email, texts and phone calls. This didn’t prevent a court summons being issued under which he was prosecuted for fly-tipping of controlled waste and failing in a duty of care for the treatment and storage of controlled waste, both under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
In court Mr Budge, now living in Launceston, offered no evidence to support his not guilty plea and was found guilty of all charges. The Magistrates decided it was a substantial matter and fined Mr Budge £480 and a victim surcharge of £48 and £425 towards the Councils legal and investigating costs, making a total of £953.
Councillor Ken James – Leader of Torridge District Council and Lead Member for the Environment said:
“Despite the unwillingness of the defendant to cooperate and take responsibility for their actions our officers showed grit and determination to bring this to another successful conclusion. It is sadly another shameful example of someone having a total disregard for the environment but should also prompt homeowners to ask for evidence of a trade waste licence before any work is undertaken.”
Members of the public can report cases of unlicensed activity or fly-tipping by calling the Council on 01237 428700 or via email environmental.