Litter squad hits the ground running

Published: 10 June 2016

The council’s newly expanded squad of undercover litter busters has been hitting flytippers where it hurts – in the pocket!

The beefed up team of inspectors has issued 276 on-the-spot-fines since three new members of staff began working with them on May 1.

The £80 fines must be paid within 14 days. Failure to do so will result in a court summons being issued where fines of up to £2,500 can be imposed.

The team is also preparing witness statements for use in six potential magistrates court prosecutions against individuals and businesses who have committed more serious fly tipping offences. These can lead to unlimited fines and jail sentences of up to six months upon conviction. 

The council’s director of housing and community services Brian Reilly said: “Our new additions to the team have had an immediate impact and enabled us to carry out much more of the enforcement work that our residents tell us they want to see.

“We now have staff working in plain clothes and at the times of the day and night when flytippers are at their most active, which is why they have caught so many rubbish dumpers in such a short space of time.

“We will be looking to build on that success and make sure the message gets home to people that we are stepping up our efforts against litterbugs and flytippers.”

As well as sending out plain clothes patrollers, the squad is also using small portable CCTV cameras at various hotspots to gather evidence to prosecute offenders.

They are also targeting businesses that are not fulfilling their legal obligation to have a written contract with a licensed commercial waste removal company. Some shops, restaurants and other businesses try to avoid having to pay to have their waste collected – preferring instead to dump it on street corners leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.

Some landlords too would rather leave worn-out mattresses and unwanted furniture on pavements rather then pay to have these items disposed of properly when their tenancies change.

The team is targeting these types of cases – along with residents who don’t use lidded dustbins to store their binbags but instead leave them out unprotected long before their scheduled weekly collection day allowing wild animals like foxes and neighbourhood cats plenty of time to rip them open and spill the contents all over the pavement.

They are particularly targeting the unlicensed waste removal operators who drive around the streets looking for large items of waste to collect - and having taken money to dispose of it properly - simply drive around the corner and dump it.

And they are also focusing attention on builders and tradesmen whose waste is often flytipped.

The council is working hard to keep Wandsworth’s streets clean. Every residential street in the borough is cleaned at least once a week, but some hotspots benefit from up to three sweeps and litter picks each week.

Since April 2014 the town hall has brought 106 prosecutions to court for waste offences and issued a total of 1,329 on-the-spot litter fines.

To report a flytip email wasteservices@wandsworth.gov.uk. Businesses can find full details about their legal responsibilities at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/waste.