A builder who cleared waste material from property he had bought by dumping it on neighbouring council-owned land has cost the local authority nearly £100,000.
John Gorman, 43, from Salford spent more than £6,000 on skips to remove material from his land, but ran out of cash and moved the remaining 250 tonnes on to a vacant plot owned by Salford City Council.
The council took him to court and he was fined £800 and ordered to pay £1,070 costs and a £120 victim surcharge for an offence under the the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The court heard that local residents complained to the council about soil being dumped on the land beyond Gorman’s property, and environmental crime officers found that the material contained general building waste, litter, glass, Japanese knotweed, plastic and tyres.
Gorman told the officers he had removed 100 skip loads of soil from his plot before running out of money. He showed the officers receipts totalling £6,680 to prove he had been moving the soil.
He said he thought the adjoining plot was waste land that no-one owned and did not think he was doing anything wrong.
Magistrates were told it could cost up to £97,000 to clear and restore the land and that Salford council was now considering its options, including civil action against Gorman in relation to the cost of the clean-up.
The council receives around 283 reports every month regarding incidents of illegal dumping/fly-tipping, and spends around £140,000 every year dealing with the problem.
The prosecution is part of the council’s ongoing Operation Pandora, under which 35 offenders have been successfully prosecuted for more than 40 offences with over £34,000 awarded against them in fines and costs.