A former member of Salford City Council’s fly-tipping clean up crew has been prosecuted and fined for dumping wood on the pavement of an inner city street.
Thomas Ashton, 54, of John Street, Little Hulton, drove 12 miles to commit the act and claimed it was saving him time and the ‘inconvenience’ of going to the tip.
Yet when questioned by council officials, he revealed he had once worked as part of a council crew cleaning up after fly-tippers and knew ‘first hand’ that what he was doing was totally wrong.
Mr Ashton admitted to illegally dumping waste in Elton Street, Salford on February 6 this year contrary to S33(1) and S33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 when he appeared at Salford and Manchester Magistrates Court on June 24.
He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £200 in costs and £30 victim surcharge.
Staff at Salford City Council’s CCTV unit watched as he reversed his car onto the pavement and pulled five large panels and four smaller planks of wood from the boot before driving away.
The wood he left behind had long rusty nails poking upwards and put pedestrians and animals at risk of injury as well as the risk of vandals setting it on fire.
Mr Ashton was traced and admitted he had worked for the council through an agency on a couple of occasions clearing up the mess left by fly-tippers.
He said he had not thought of the consequences of dumping the wood, nor the waste of public money involved in cleaning it up. He claimed the offence was totally out of character.
Speaking after the case Councillor Gena Merrett, assistant mayor for housing and environment said: “I’m astonished by his actions. He knew first hand the mess, misery and waste of money fly-tipping causes and yet gave no thought to any of that as he casually dumped wood in the middle of the street.
“Not only that but he drove 12 miles to do this – passing within a couple of miles of the tip. He should have done the right thing in the first place and taken the wood to the top to save everyone time, money and inconvenience.”
She added: “I’m also disappointed that the court only imposed a £200 order for costs. Salford City Council spends around £140,000 every year investigating and cleaning up after fly-tippers.
“I would like to see far more of that cost met by those who do the crime instead of the ratepayers picking that up.”
Salford City Council receives 283 reports every month of incidents of illegal dumping/fly-tipping. This prosecution is as a result of the on-going city wide ‘Operation Pandora’ which has so far prosecuted 26 offenders resulting in fines and costs of more than £23,000.
Image courtesy of Salford City Council, with thanks.