AN unlicensed waste carrier who was convicted of fly-tipping has been handed a suspended prison sentence - prompting Barnsley Council to issue a further warning to others responsible for blighting the borough.

Liam Watkinson, of Stoneleigh Croft, Worsbrough Common, received a 20-week prison term, which was suspended for 18 months, and fined £1,500 having pleaded guilty to two offences of fly-tipping at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.

He must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £100 in compensation, while two vehicles involved in the case were seized and subsequently crushed.

Watkinson, who had been advertising waste clearance services on Facebook despite not carrying a licence, was identified following an investigation carried out by the council’s enforcement team.

Officers found evidence of him touting for trade before he was caught on CCTV dumping waste obtained from unsuspecting customers.

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Wendy Lowder, executive director for communities, said: “In 2019 we remain committed to protecting our beautiful borough and stamping out fly-tipping by making sure we continue to remove vehicles like this when involved in environmental crime. If you choose to carry rubbish illegally and spoil the environment, then you risk losing your vehicle permanently.”

According to the council, figures for reported tipping are reducing thanks to proactive work by officers and the local authority’s award-winning #EverybodyThink campaign.

But fly-tipped waste costs more than £200,000 per year to clear up - a figure they want to significantly reduce - and more than 2,500 reports were made during 2018.

“As part of our #EverybodyThink campaign we will continue to work with the police and the public to tackle environmental crime,” Wendy added. “Residents can do their bit by making sure they only give their rubbish to someone with a valid waste carriers’ licence.

“If that person has no authority to carry waste, residents can also be held responsible and face court action.”

Many door-knocking waste carriers charge money to dispose of general waste, white goods and settees and blight the borough by tipping their load - often in secluded beauty spots.

Council officers are trawling through discarded waste to find evidence as to who is responsible for fly-tipping and vowed to take a no-nonsense stance on those caught.

Eight vehicles used for fly-tipping were seized and crushed by the council last year, while fixed penalty notices for anyone caught has recently been increased from £300 to £400.

Although the commitment to tackling offenders has been reiterated this week, the council also warned waste carriers - and unsuspecting residents - that big fines will continue to be dished out.

“If you’re operating a waste carrier business, you must have a licence from the Environment Agency,” a statement added. “Anyone who handles waste must take all reasonable steps to ensure that it’s managed properly. Handling includes producing, importing, keeping, storing, transporting, treating or disposing of it.

“If you breach this duty of care, you could receive a penalty fine of up to £5,000 if convicted in the magistrates’ court. The fine is unlimited if you’re convicted in the crown court.

“Duty of care regulations apply to commercial premises, businesses, householders and those who transport waste. All householders must ensure that related waste is properly disposed of.

“Make sure the carrier gives you an invoice describing the waste they took from you. If you don’t, and your waste is fly-tipped, you could be charged with a duty of care offence.”