A BUSINESSWOMAN landed herself in court after she allowed one of her vans to be used to dump rubbish at a notorious fly-tipping hot-spot.
Plagued by rubbish dumped at the roadside in Houghton, Sunderland City Council have installed signs and CCTV cameras in Foxcover Lane and Foxcover Road, Sunderland magistrates heard.
Leanne Hodgson, 32, who runs Leanne’s Bouncy Castles and Removals, admitted depositing controlled waste on land without a licence, and failing to produce waste transfer notes, after her van was used to dump furniture and rubble on the roadside on New Year’s Eve 2013.
Michelle Irving, prosecuting on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said: “This area has a significant problem. It is a hot-spot for fly-tipping and in 2013 money was spent by the council to tackle the problem. Clear signage was installed along the road as well as CCTV cameras.
“On December 31, 2013, the CCTV in Foxcover Road recorded a vehicle depositing a large quantity of waste on the side of the road. It was a white van with ‘Leanne’s Bouncy Castles and Removals’ printed on the side. A man was seen exiting the van and items were thrown from the side. These included two sofas, and various pieces of board and bricks.
“The registered keeper of that vehicle was Leanne Hodgson and by virtue of that she was in a position to control the use of that vehicle, whether or not she was actually involved.”
The authority wrote ‘various letters’ to Hodgson, Mrs Irving said, and she was invited to attend an interview in February and April last year, but failed to do so.
“She runs a removals company, and on March 5 she was asked for the waste transfer notes to be produced,” Mr Irving added. “She did not produce this and any waste deposit has been done illegally and without authority.”
Peter Thubron, defending Hodgson, said: “She did employ someone, and that person, who was almost a friend, asked to borrow one of the vans. She has insurance that covers renting out the vans. He told her it was to remove some furniture and she believed him. It seems he removed not only the furniture but also some rubble. She had no idea it was his intention.”
Mr Thubron said his client had been unable to attend a meeting on the date the council suggested.
“If they’d had this meeting, she would have told them who the man was, and, because they had photographs of him they would have gone straight to him.”
Hodgson, of Holborn Road, Hylton Lane Estate, was fined £1,000 and told to pay £306 costs and a £50 surcharge, due in full within 28 days.
Speaking after the case, Coun Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for City Services, said: “The council takes all littering and fly-tipping very seriously and investigates at every opportunity.
“We should all take a pride in our environment and the vast majority of us want a cleaner and greener city. Anyone with concerns about rubbish, litter or fly-tipping can always contact the council on 520 5550.”