A Uttoxeter farmer will have to pay up to £10,000 to remove two huge lorry loads of rubbish dumped on his driveway. The landowner, who asked not to be named, woke up to find tonnes of waste on his land off Derby Road, which the fly-tippers accessed by cutting padlocks off his gate.
Environment Agency officials are investigating the offence and police have issued an appeal for information. Neighbour Kathy Shaw has today questioned the regulations that will see victim have to pay thousands to dispose of the rubbish.
Had it been fly-tipped on public land, the tax-payer would have had to foot the bill to have it removed. Having seen the pile, Mrs Shaw also thinks it was put through some kind of waste treatment facility before being dumped.
The former town, borough and county councillor said: "My neighbours are devastated that they've been left with this problem of someone else's making. I'd like to draw attention to the fact that this isn't just ordinary tipping of household waste.
The waste that was dumped on land off Derby Road
"To my eye, this mass of rubbish has come through some kind of waste treatment facility before it's been dumped. It looks like it's already been treated and anything of any value's been removed from it, like glass and metal.
"This isn't just someone trying to dodge paying a few pounds – I think it's organised criminal activity. It's so unfair that it's now left to the farmer to dispose of tonnes and tonnes of waste because it's been left on his land. There's a gap in the law when it comes to this sort of deliberate fly-tipping and I'll be taking this up with our MP."
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "We received a call at around 10.50am on Wednesday, February 15 reporting an incident of fly-tipping in Uttoxeter. The waste had been dumped on private land off a service road running adjacent to the A50/A522 junction in Uttoxeter.
"A lock had been removed from a gate at the location and about two lorry loads of rubbish dumped in the field. We attended the location and the Environment Agency have been notified. Anyone with any information is asked to ring 101 quoting incident 239 of February 15."
A spokesman for East Staffordshire Borough Council, which deals with fly-tipping on public land, confirmed the authority had no jurisdiction in this case, but had spoken to the land-owner in "an advisory capacity".
The waste was dumped days before officials put out a plea to businesses and homeowners to help them fight fly-tipping. Staffordshire Prepared, which includes representatives from councils, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Staffordshire Police, the Environment Agency and Highways England, today revealed "several high-risk sites" had been identified across the county.
The fire service's director of response and the group's chairman, Tim Hyde, said: "This is a serious issue that we collectively need to address as soon as possible and we need the support of local residents and businesses.
"A recent highly-publicised waste fire in Stoke-on-Trent was really just the tip of the iceberg. We have identified high-risk sites where, should fires occur, there will be massive disruption to road and rail networks in addition to the devastating environmental impact."
An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We're investigating following reports of shredded waste being dumped on private land in the Uttoxeter area. We're also providing advice and guidance about how this waste can be removed safely and legally.
"Everyone has a part to play to help crack down on waste crime. If you suspect someone is disposing of your waste illegally, or you want to alert us to other illegal waste operations call our Incident Hotline on 0800 70 60 50 or Crimestoppers anonymously on: 0800 555 111 or alternatively use the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org"