A van driver has been fined £350 after a passing motorist spotted his van pulling away from a well known fly-tipping hot spot minutes after waste was dumped there.
The member of the public became suspicious after the Transit van driver pulled in to allow him to pass as he drove along Foxcover Lane, Herrington, one night in November.
Knowing the area is a regular hotspot for fly-tipping, he decided to double back to where he had last seen the van.
As he approached, he could see the lights of a stationary van which sped off as he got closer, leaving a bag full of waste which had not been there minutes earlier.
He reported the incident and the van driver's registration number to the council's Environmental Enforcement Team.
When questioned under caution, the van's registered keeper denied fly-tipping, saying he could not remember being there at that date and time.
After being told that the council had a credible witness who was prepared to go to court if necessary, the vehicle keeper was served with a £350 Fixed Penalty Notice for fly-tipping.
The man - who has not been identified - was also told that failure to pay could result in a formal prosecution, which may result in a higher fine and a criminal conviction.
Councillor Amy Wilson, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "It's totally unacceptable that anyone should think it's ok to dump their waste along a country lane rather than dispose of it responsibly.
"We would encourage anyone who sees this type of irresponsible behaviour to report it to our environmental services team so that we can take action against those to blame."
You can report fly-tipping and litter to the council at Sunderland.gov.uk or on (0191) 520 5550