A COVERT CCTV camera has landed a businessman with a legal bill of more than £12,000 after catching fly-tippers in the act at a Rugby recycling centre.
The driver of a white van belonging to Centrepoints International Associates was filmed dumping rubbish next to the council’s textile bin at Ashlawn Road recycling centre in April last year.
He then shoved a duvet into it – despite a sign stating ‘please no duvets’ – blocking the bin and stopping others from using it.
The recycling centre had two textile recycling bins – one operating on behalf of the council and another, placed without permission, collecting textiles for the charity Caring for Children in the Gambia.
After checking footage from the camera, which was installed by Rugby Borough Council to combat fly-tipping, council officers traced the owner of the van – Harinder Rhoad, of Dudding Road, Wolverhampton, who owned textile recycling company Centrepoints International Associates.
Rhoad initially denied any involvement, and ignored a notice which legally obliged him to co-operate with the investigation.
When he finally attended an interview with officers, Rhoad repeatedly answered “no comment” before walking out.
At Leamington Magistrates Court, the 45-year-old pleaded not guilty to four charges, including fly-tipping.
The court heard Rhoad operated up to 1,000 textile recycling bins across the country, and he claimed he chose to support Caring for Children in the Gambia.
But the council discovered the charity had been struck off by the Charity Commission in 2013 – even though Rhoad produced a promotional leaflet for his business referring to its work with the charity a year later.
Rhoad’s defence hinged on the argument the duvet and the textiles in the refuse sack could be recycled without sorting or processing.
But the council was able to prove up to 25 per cent of textiles placed in recycling bins were waste.
Found guilty on all four counts, Rhoad was fined £1,500 for fly-tipping, £700 for waste transfer notes offences and £200 for failing to comply with a section 108 notice.
He was also ordered to pay the council’s costs of £9,860.
Council environment spokeswoman Coun Sally Bragg said: “This successful prosecution proved an extremely complex investigation, during which Mr Rhoad remained steadfast in his determination to ignore his responsibilities to both the law and the environment.
“The council operates a zero-tolerance policy on fly-tipping. It costs taxpayers thousands of pounds a year, damages our environment and impacts on legitimate waste disposal businesses.
“We investigate all incidents of fly-tipping and have no hesitation in taking offenders to court when we find sufficient evidence.”
Residents can report fly-tipping by using the council’s mobile phone app – available at www.rugby.gov.uk/app – or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (01788) 533857.
*RADICAL plans to seize vehicles involved in fly-tipping have been backed by the Midlands branch of the Country Land and Business Association.
The organisation, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, is throwing its weight behind government proposals to apprehend vehicles involved in the crime.
CLA Midlands Rural Adviser Donna Tavernor said: “It seems unfair that private landowners are liable for any waste that is fly-tipped on their land and can be prosecuted if they do not clear it away.
“Fly-tipping is often conducted by organised criminal gangs and we have been calling for culprits to be dealt with more robustly for years.
“These measures should come into force as soon as possible and must be backed up by the police and councils.”