James Upton, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to a catalogue of charges under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for depositing controlled waste and offences contrary to section one of the Control of Pollution Act 1989 for transporting waste without a licence.
The incidents involved the 24-year-old approaching residents uninvited and intimidating vulnerable members of the public into paying them for removing waste, which was then dumped illegally.
He was given a 26-week sentence at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court on Monday, making him the first fly-tipper to be sent to jail in the town, while he was also told to pay court costs of £2,195.
His 19-year-old accomplice, Kieron Yates, of Evelyn Terrace, Barnsley, also pleaded guilty to the same offences but was given 22-weeks custody - which was suspended for 12 months - with 200 hours of unpaid work and the same £2,195 towards court costs.
The pair’s activity was discovered when Barnsley Council’s enforcement team were investigating fly-tipping that followed similar patterns, where waste would be taken away in wheelie bins which were abandoned in the local area and would later be found dumped close to the victims’ home.
Mark Giles, manager of the Safer Neighbourhood Service at the council, told the Chronicle: “Upton is the first fly-tipper who’s dumped in Barnsley who’s gone straight to jail for what he’s done so it shows that the courts are taking the crime seriously.
“If this doesn’t act as a warning to other fly-tippers, I don’t think anything will.
“It’s a fantastic result and the severity of the sentence isn’t surprising to me as I’ve seen the damage these people cause.
“I’d like longer sentences, perhaps for 12 months, but it’s about being realistic.
“The message we want to send out to the public is that we’re on fly-tippers’ cases and we’ll continue with our robust enforcement, leaving no stone unturned in order to secure successful prosecutions.”
According to latest figures obtained by the Chronicle this week, 17 vehicles have been crushed in the last year in relation to tipping and 3,482 clean-ups were carried out by the council between April 2018 and March 2019, totalling 196 tonnes of waste.
The figures are higher than were previously submitted to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) earlier this year - which the council blamed on ‘teething problems’ with staff turnover and a new reporting procedure.
Dale Sparks, head of commercial support services for the council, told the Chronicle that an investigation has been carried out to avoid a repeat of the ‘discrepancies’ next year which involves improved checks on official data.
He added: “We’re continuing our campaign which aims to make fly-tipping socially unacceptable and residents are playing a massive role in reporting cases to us. It’s now much easier for them to do that and Barnsley’s 2.8 per cent rise is partly down to that.
“A lot of hard work has been done and 3,482 completed cases have been recorded. The tougher the punishments, the more deterrent there is.”
Wendy Lowder, executive director for communities, added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the public for their statements - without the co-operation of our fabulous communities, we wouldn’t be able to take these cases to court.
“These results send a strong message that fly-tipping will not be tolerated. As part of our #EverybodyThink campaign, we will continue to work with the police and the public to tackle environmental crime.
“Residents can help us to protect our beautiful borough by making sure they only give their rubbish to someone with a valid waste carrier licence.”