A South Croydon garage owner has been ordered to pay almost £7,000 after being found guilty of illegally dumping trade waste and old car parts.
Ramiz Laci, 39, of Haling Park Road, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 5 August.
Alert locals photographed the illegal tipping incidents, which occurred in July and August last year, catching Laci in the act of unloading trade waste from his van into bin sheds on several occasions at Duppas Court, Waddon.
The pictures were sent to former Croydon councillor Tony Harris, who in turn forwarded the visual evidence to the council’s environmental enforcement service for investigation.
Laci initially claimed that he was not responsible and that someone had borrowed his van, before later admitting to the offences.
He was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay costs of more than £5,000.
Councillor Stuart Collins, who launched “Don’t mess with Croydon” – a campaign which seeks to crack down on fly-tipping and other environmental crimes – heralded the prosecution and warned others not to follow Laci’s lead.
“This sentence proves it’s not worth trying to mess with Croydon,” he said.
“Fly-tipping and avoiding trade waste costs really doesn’t pay in the long term – because once we catch people we will make sure they face the consequences in court.”
The campaign has been launched to tackle the high level of fly-tipping in the borough, which cost an estimated £758,755 to clear between April 2012 and March 2013 according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – the eight highest cost to local authorities in England.
Collins is confident that Laci’s prosecution will be just one of many in the coming months as special fly-tip reaction teams patrol Croydon.
“Our new campaign will bring more of these prosecutions to court far quicker as we gather evidence against the people who illegally dump their rubbish around the borough.”
The public can report fly-tips to Croydon Council by calling the fly-tipping hotline on 020 8604 7000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A “MyCroydon” mobile app has also been launched to increase public reporting of fly-tipping offences.