Torridge Council, which includes places close to Bude such as Holsworthy, Welcombe, Bradworthy and Hartland, is reminding people about litter and the penalties for dumping it.

Dropping or depositing litter on any land in the open air is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and offenders can face fines and prosecution. People should dispose of their litter responsibly or if no bin or recycling point is nearby, take their litter home for disposal.

While there is no formal definition of litter, in practice it’s most commonly assumed to include materials often associated with smoking, eating and drinking that are discarded and left by members of the public who do not use provided litter bins.

A recent event at Westward Ho! was discovered and notified on social media by a concerned member of the public. They had happened upon discarded cans and leftover take-away food packaging while walking over the dunes at Sandymere on Northam Burrows. The post struck a chord with many residents who were outraged that such an environmentally important site as the burrows could be desecrated in such a casual and selfish manner.

Torridge officers became involved, negotiating the removal of the social media post so that it wouldn’t interfere with their active investigation. With a clear indication that the food had come from a local takeaway, the officers were able to piece together the clues, which led to an interview under caution for a surprised local resident. This in turn led to a fine of £100 being issued and a firm undertaking by the culprit that they would modify their behaviour in what appeared to be genuine remorse for their actions.

Councillor Philip Hackett – Lead Member for Public Health and Community Safety said:

“Littering is sadly an ongoing problem for many councils, taking up valuable officer time and costing the council many thousands of pounds to investigate and clear up. Beside all of that it’s such a blatant disregard for the beautiful environment we’re lucky enough to live in and I’m glad our officers have such a good track record of tracking down and catching those responsible. Support from the public is vital as well, so we encourage people to come forward and report cases they come across and our officers will do the rest.”

Members of the public can report cases of littering or fly-tipping by calling the Council on 01237 428700 or via email to