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It was probably only a couple of days after I grumbled in my leader that shortened hours and extra charges at civil amenity tips would lead to extra fly tipping, that I came across the article: 'Gosport's 'worst fly-tipper' is jailed after three-month spree' on Portsmouth.co.uk's website.
What a mess!
Reading the story, I realised that this crime had little to do with cost-cutting by local councils and more to do with one individual's lack of morals and desire to make more money out of removing people's waste than he was illegally allowed to. Ashley Mooney touted for business on Facebook, trading as A&M Waste Clearance, charging up to £150 a time to take away other people's rubbish. But instead of paying to dispose of it legally at the civic amenity tip, he scattered it over the beautiful Hampshire countryside, leading to his prosecution by four separate councils.
He was caught after people who had paid him in good faith, to remove their rubbish, were contacted by councils when fly-tipped rubbish was found and linked back to them and when his truck was pursued by a member of a neighbourhood watch group.
Having admitted to 14 charges of depositing waste without a licence, two counts of failing to comply with duties under the Environmental Protection Act, two charges of depositing waste without taking reasonable measures and a charge of failing to produce authority to transport controlled waste, he was jailed for a year. Costs to landowners and the local authorities to clear the junk are said to have totalled £8,916, while combined investigation costs reached £16,702.
That's a lot of money that could have been spent elsewhere.
Please, if you work for a local authority, (when we set Cleanzine up 15 years ago we had all the UK's authorities on our circulation) could you please do us all a favour and ensure that when criminals like Ashley Mooney are prosecuted, you let your local newspaper know what punishment has been meted out? If we can 'name and shame' and if the punishments are harsh enough, you might just deter others from blighting the landscape with rubbish.
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9th February 2017