White van man ‘ashamed’ after being caught fly-tipping rubble, bricks and cement in Sunderland

John Helm outside Sunderland Magistrates Court.

John Helm outside Sunderland Magistrates Court.

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A man hit with a fine after being caught dumping waste in a notorious fly-tipping blackspot in Sunderland said he was “totally ashamed” of his actions.

John Helm, 48, was seen depositing a number of bags containing rubble, bricks and cement on an industrial estate in Hendon.

Rubbish dumped by fly-tipper John Helm in Hendon.

Rubbish dumped by fly-tipper John Helm in Hendon.

He was caught on CCTV arriving at East Back Parade in a white van on May 4, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Michelle Irving, prosecuting on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said the authority had, at the time, ongoing problems with waste being dumped there.

She said: “The council has been receiving numerous complaints about a large quantity of waste being deposited.

“The road is on an industrial estate and has been a hot spot for fly-tipping in 2015.

I’m totally ashamed of myself. I fully admit what I’ve done. It’s something I’ve done and never will do again

John Helm

“A great deal of effort has gone into cleaning this up.”

Ms Irving said a white van had arrived in the lane and the driver and another man got out and opened the rear and side doors.

The men were see on the footage dumping items – comprising of blue, black and clear bags – on the ground.

Police checked the van’s registration and found it to be insured on the policy of a woman.

John Helm's fly-tipping was caught on CCTV.

John Helm's fly-tipping was caught on CCTV.

Ms Irvin said that, unbeknown to the woman, her husband had allowed Helm to insure his van on the family’s multi-car policy.

Helm was traced to his home on Harrow Square, Hylton Lane Estate, Sunderland.

He was interviewed by officers and told them he had tried to take the waste to a council tip, but had been told his vehicle was too long.

And because no private facilities were open that day, due to it being a bank holiday, he had decided to dump the waste where he did.

Helm pleaded guilty to depositing controlled waste on land without a waste management permit.

Representing himself in court, he told magistrates he was sorry. Helm said: “I’m totally ashamed of myself. I fully admit what I’ve done. It’s something I’ve done and never will do again.”

He was fined £200 and was told to pay £170 prosecution costs, £178.39 clean-up costs and a £20 surcharge.

Coun Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for city services, said after the case: “This prosecution is evidence that we have a zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping.

“If we can identify those responsible, such as in this case, we will prosecute. I hope this case will act as a deterrent to any would be fly-tippers.

“The City Council is facing unprecedented cuts to our funding and shouldn’t have to spend the resources we do have cleaning up after a minority of people who think they can dump their rubbish where they like.”