Fly-tipping prosecution success
A Boston man who dumped rubbish has been ordered by magistrates to complete 250 hours of unpaid work for the community, and pay the £250 it cost the borough council to clear the mess up.
Christopher Smith, of 31 Franklin Close, Boston, denied dumping waste, including a soiled double-bed mattress, two doors, a vacuum cleaner, exercise bike, a child's scooter missing its wheels, building materials and other items in Chapel Passage, off High Street, Boston.
Pictured: The rubbish dumped in Chapel Passage by Christopher Smith
He told Boston magistrates on Wednesday that he had delivered the items as a favour to a friend, who intended keeping them in a shed.
But the court ruled the evidence was not credible and that the material dumped was waste and not personal belongings.
In a curious twist Smith, who had entered a not guilty plea, failed to arrive at court on time and was found guilty in his absence. He then turned up an hour late, saying he had been attending a hospital appointment, and the magistrates agreed to a request from his solicitor, Liz Harte, to set aside the conviction, withdraw a warrant for sentence and reopen the case, finding him guilty a second time after hearing his evidence.
Ruksana Munir, prosecuting, said a resident saw Smith dump the rubbish near steps leading to flats on Friday, July 8. He took the registration number of Smith's flatbed tipper truck and reported the incident.
Kath Mountain, Boston Borough Council's environmental enforcement officer, told the court the dumped waste was in front of a stair well and had blocked a fire exit causing a hazard.
Smith was found to be the registered owner of the vehicle and was invited to be interviewed under caution and to produce his waste carrier's licence. He failed to attend. A further appointment was made, and a legal representative attended, but Smith again failed to show up.
Smith told the court he was accident prone and a number of unforeseen incidents had prevented him from attending the appointments.
He explained that on the day in July he had been taking some scrap metal to be weighed in when a friend asked him to carry some items for him.
Smith said he was in a hurry to get his truck to a garage for a tyre repair and unloaded the friend's items while he disappeared to get the keys to a shed where he was going to store them.
He said he was innocent and was being punished for doing a favour for a friend. He had tried to get the friend to attend an interview with the council and to come to court to explain the items were his belongings to be kept and stored and not waste, but had been unsuccessful. He said his friend had told him the mattress was worth £300 but Smith said he would not have let his dog sleep on it.
Now unemployed and on Jobseeker's Allowance, the magistrates made a collection order for the £250 costs to be paid to the council.
After the case the council's portfolio holder for waste services, Cllr Michael Brookes, said: "We thank the member of the public who reported this incident and would urge others to follow this example. We are absolutely determined to catch the irresponsible people who spoil our surroundings by illegally dumping rubbish and will follow up every lead we get to track them down and take them through the courts."