Magistrates need to support community’s efforts to deter flytippers

Published: Wednesday 12th September 18

The council’s environmental protection spokesman Steffi Sutters is calling on local magistrates to treat flytipping cases more seriously and impose effective deterrent sentences after a resident was given “a tiny slap on the wrist” for dumping a large pile of waste in a local beauty spot.

Cllr Sutters said she was “very disappointed” at the sentence handed down to Putney resident Tauqir  Butt who dumped a pile of rubbish in picturesque Putney Park Lane – a quiet unpaved road in West Putney that is largely unchanged since the 19th Century.

The flytip included a carpet, microwave, a folding bed, plastic laundry baskets and more than a dozen black binbags.

Mr Butt's pile of waste

Although Mr Butt, who lives in nearby Cortis Road admitted breaching the Environmental Protection Act 1990 magistrates at Lavender Hill decided not to impose a financial penalty. Instead he was given a six month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and just £60 towards the council’s prosecution costs – which had run into several hundred pounds.

Anyone convicted in a magistrates court of flytipping offences under the EPA is liable to an unlimited fine and/or a jail term of up to five years.

After the case Cllr Sutters said: “I’m afraid that many local people, myself included, will view this as an inadequate and unsatisfactory outcome.

“This was a dreadful flytip of junk and other household waste that will have caused a great deal of distress and upset to residents of the lane. Given these circumstances I would have expected the magistrates to have handed down a stiffer sentence than this.

“The council is doing its best to combat flytipping. We issue hundreds of on-the-spot fines each year to people and businesses who break litter laws but when we come across a serious offence like this we believe it should be dealt with by the courts, which have the powers to impose effective deterrent sentences.

“Sadly this has not happened here and instead Mr Butt has been given little more than a tiny slap on the wrist.

Cllr Sutters is calling on the courts to treat cases like this more seriously

“We will of course continue to target those who cause environmental damage to our community and hope that in future magistrates will view these cases with the gravity they deserve and reflect the public’s very deep concern about this type of crime.”

Residents wanting rubbish cleared can have it removed by the council for a modest fee. To book a collection call (020) 8871 8558 or visit If households choose a licensed private contractor instead they must ask for a proper receipt.

People having work done on their properties should always check with their builders and any other contractors precisely how they will be disposing of any waste materials. They should be extremely wary of people knocking on their doors unannounced and offering to take away their rubbish.

Cowboy waste contractors often drive around residential areas looking for homes that are being refurbished or cleared. They will approach the owner and offer to take “junk” away for a cut price rate.

But instead of taking it to a proper waste disposal site and paying the appropriate fees, they simply dump it somewhere nearby – often in parks or other open spaces – leaving taxpayers to foot the clean-up bill. In these cases it is not just the flytipper wo is committing a crime – the householder who paid them to take their waste away is also liable under the law.

Anyone with information about rubbish being dumped in the borough should telephone (020) 8871 6396. All calls will be treated in confidence. Information can also be provided via email at

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Recent comments

I agree that the sentence was derisory. He should have been fined and made to pay all the prosecution costs
Christopher Mitchell

28 September 2018

It is inappropriate for criticism to be made of sentences imposed by courts by elected or unelected officials. The regrettable tendency of eg the police to comment on sentences undermines the separation of powers which is an important part of our constitution.

17 September 2018

He should at least have had to pay the cost ofthe prosecution AND clearing up the mess plus a fine. Why such a light sentence and subsidising him.
Carol Tibbs

16 September 2018

Mr BUTT - what an appropriate name! Yes, Ian, the magistrate should have sentenced him to hours of community service, clearing up other people's rubbish. S. Williams, we shouldn't have so many people coming into our country without a full grasp of the English language. This is why we need to get on with leaving the EU, not heed to our local MP Justine Greening's calls for a second referendum. Jim, considering the flytip was round the corner from Mr Butt's house, I find it very hard to believe he was duped by anybody. The tip doesn't look big enough to merit a visit from a contractor anyway. It's little more than a pile of bin bags that he should have put in one of the large domestic rubbish bins provided by the council.

14 September 2018

It is a disgrace that the magistrates in this case saw fit to undermine the councils efforts and issue an unduly lenient sentence. They could have at least issued many hours of community service, cleaning up the kinds of mess they created. Could the council not challenge or appeal the sentence to a higher court?
Ian Donoghue

14 September 2018

Fly tipping is not considered a problem for my neighbours who use the bottom of a beautiful oak tree as a dump. The council appears powerless to stop this.A person has used the back of my house for drinking for over a year,throwing bottles where children and dogs can be hurt.This week I put up a sign offering a bag for them to use
Diane Ward

14 September 2018

to stop all the waste scattered by animals caused by people putting their rubbish out early or late or in hedges why not insist that all homes must have a bin and that all rubbish must be put in a bin or not be collected? as for fly tipping it is a confusing term for those who have English as a second language. I had to explain it to my new neighbours who had never heard of the term before and started copying others in dumping their rubbish.
s williams

14 September 2018

This is outrageous and was a complete waste of the Council's resources. How much all told did this cost the Council (i.e. us Council Tax and Business Ratepayers) from the start of searching for the loathsome Mr Butt through to the conclusion of Court proceedings? Probably four figures. Someone would get a much bigger fine if their dog had fouled the footpath. sOMEON
Malcolm Alsop

14 September 2018

How could the Magistrates in this case have been appointed? The whole process of appointing magistrates should be reviewed as a matter of urgency. The community must be protected from these appalling crimes.
Barry Rowe

14 September 2018

Sad that a responsible magistrate can merely ignore the local views and the significant cost to the rate payers and Council over fly tipping. It is a wretched scourge and a rape of the local environment. I am inclined to wonder what the sentence might have been had the incident occurred outside the magistrates house.

14 September 2018

Magistrates at Lavender Hill should be ashamed. This only give an incentive for people to fly-tip. As for Tauqir Butt you're a disgrace.
olivier desbarres

14 September 2018

The article needs to make it clear if Mr Butt was the individual who dumped the rubbish or a gullible householder who hired a cow boy rubbish clearer, and if so what efforts have been made to find them.
Jim Smith

12 September 2018