Fly-tipped fridges lead to thousands in fines and costs

Two fridges dumped on a Plymouth street led to an unregistered waste carrier being ordered to pay £2,218 in fines and costs by the city’s magistrates.

Glynn Hobbs of West End Road, Beacon Park, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in a prosecution brought by Plymouth City Council.

They were for fly tipping two fridges in a Devonport lane with no environmental permit and failing to provide written information to the Council about the transport and disposal of garden and household waste by GKH Waste on 9, 16 and 17 July 2020.

The 35-year-old, appeared via video link from Charles Cross Police Station was fined £480 for the first offence, £100 for the second with no separate penalties for the further offences. He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £58 and costs of £1,580 to the Council.

Magistrates heard that a resident got in touch with the Council after he saw a man with a tipper van throw two fridges from the back of the van onto the lane on 16 July before clearing off. The resident was able to supply the council with CCTV footage.

The concerned resident also carried out some sleuthing of his own and discovered the GKH and phone number on the van could be traced via Facebook to a waste removal company, GKH waste removals.

A council investigation got underway and an officer contacted the company to ask for their waste carriers licence number. Hobbs, who answered the call, explained he was applying for one but could not provide confirmation that the application had been received.

He also claimed that fridges were only left for a few hours and he had planned to pick them up.

The resident contacted the Council again to explain the fridges had been removed. The CCTV time indicated this happened minutes after Hobbs had received the call from the Council…

When a person collects controlled waste for recycling or transporting them, they legally have to produce and keep a transfer or consignment note for at least two years. Anyone who transports or disposes of waste or arranges someone else to do it must be registered with the Environment Agency.

The Council wrote to Hobbs as the business owner asking for the relevant paperwork on 20 July. At the beginning of August he had still not returned the documents.

The officer rang another phone number believed to belong to Hobbs and was told the Council’s letter asking for documentation had been received. Despite being asked to call back, Hobbs did not ring the Council and on 7 August Fixed Penalty Notices were issued – one for fly tipping the waste, three for failing to supply waste transfer/consignment notices on 9, 16 and 17 July and one for failing to provide waste carriers licence on 24 July.

In August Hobbs paid £100 in respect of the failure to provide a waste carrier’s licence. The following month he spoke to a member of staff to explain he could not pay all the fines. He was advised to email the Council to outline the problem, but this did not happen.

The court were told that the waste company had stopped trading and magistrates took on board his guilty plea and the fact he had tried to pay some of the fines.  

Nicola Horne, the Council’s Environmental Health Protection Manager said: “This reinforces the importance of making sure people who take your rubbish follow the law and are registered waste carriers and have the correct paperwork – you can check if someone is registered as a waste carrier online.

“We would also like to thank the resident who was rightly outraged by what he saw and decided enough was enough.”

If anyone sees any flytipping they can report it, and provide as many details as possible