Council bosses have hit back at figures which show they have only used ‘on-the-spot’ fines for fly-tippers three times.
Government legislation which came into force last May which enabled South Tyneside Council to issue fines of between £150 and £400 to those caught in the act of fly-tipping, instead of having to take them to court.
The measures were part of efforts to crack down on waste crime.
By July, the local authority had used these new powers twice.
The first was fining a man £150 after he dumped a mattress and other items into a skip belonging to a business at Middlefields in South Shields, because the recycling village was closed.
The second involved a man leaving a sofa near the bin storage cupboard at Westmorland Court in Hebburn.
We can only issue fines where we have evidence.Council spokesman
However, Freedom Of Information figures obtained by the Press Association show the borough’s council has only issues three fines - while 184 council across the country had yet to issue any - with many not yet even putting the new rules in place.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We have successfully issued three on-the-spot fines for fly-tipping which have been paid on full.
“However, we can only issue these fines where we have evidence that an offence has taken place.
“In addition we have successfully prosecuted a further 17 people in relation to fly-tipping under Section 108 of the Environment Act 1995.
“We are committed to cracking down on fly-tipping, as it is unsightly and irresponsible and can make life miserable for those living nearby.
“We would encourage anyone who sees any incidents of fly-tipping to report it on (0191) 427 7000, as this will help us to bring to justice those who blight our borough.”
Despite not issuing ‘on-the-spot’ fines, a number of people have been prosecuted through the court system in recent months.
In September, Samantha Foreman, 23, of Bamford Walk, South Shields, was given a conditional discharge for six months and ordered to pay £80 costs and a victim surcharge of £20 after admitting failing to comply with a notice - which was to provide information about fly-tipping.
Magistrates were told that 20 bags of domestic waste were abandoned at the side of the road close to the picturesque Cleadon Hills.
In November, Chelsea Lincoln, 20, of Sidney Street, Boldon Colliery, was fined £75 by magistrates.
She was also ordered to pay costs of £100 and a victim surcharge of £30 after rubbish, which was previously in her garden, had been dumped in a field behind her house.
A variety of waste can be recycled at the Recycling Village at Middlefields Industrial Estate in South Shields which is open from 9am until 6pm, and a site is also available at Middlefields where businesses and builders can take their waste through a licensed waste management site.
To report fly-tipping or other environmental problems, call the Council’s Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.