A lettings agent has been hit with a £1,000 charge after telling a new tenant to dump waste left by a previous occupier into a back lane.
A fridge, two armchairs and a pile of black bags were left in the back lane of Hendon Burn Avenue in Hendon, Sunderland, after a new tenant moved into a property.
Environmental enforcement officers tracked the waste to the address from evidence in the bags and spoke to the tenant.
She told them the waste was in the backyard when she moved into the property and, despite the lettings agent promising it would be removed when she reported it on numerous occasions, nothing had been done.
The woman said fire fighters had later carried out an inspection of the property, and raised concerns about the waste blocking the fire escape. This prompted the woman to contact the lettings agent again.
The lettings agent told her to deposit the waste in the back lane, where it would be removed by the refuse collection team on bin day.
When interviewed by environmental enforcement officers, the lettings agent admitted she had instructed the tenant to put the waste in the back lane, adding that she had never actually visited the property and didn't realise the extent of what had been left by the previous tenant.
She was served with a fixed penalty notice for £350 for fly-tipping and charged the £428 cost of removing and disposing of the waste.
After further investigations into the wider waste disposal arrangements of the lettings agent, during which she was unable to provide evidence of lawful waste disposal over the last two years, she was served with a further £300 fixed penalty notice.
It is the latest in a string of fines issued by Sunderland City Council. Yesterday we reported how a dumper was fined £350 for chucking rubbish in a back lane, and last week we ran a story on a woman being fined £70 for a similar offence.
It comes as the Echo runs its Clean Streets campaign, aiming to get more people involved in community clean ups - and encouraging them to report fly-tipping and litter blackspots.
Councillor Michael Mordey, cabinet member for City Services in Sunderland, said: "This was a case of a lettings agency failing to accept responsibility for a property they were paid to manage, with no thought about the impact this eyesore would have on neighbouring properties.
"I hope this action will send out a strong message to other lettings agents to act more responsibly. It is not acceptable to dump waste a huge amount of waste in the back lane and assume that the council will automatically take it away.
"It's not fair on those who act responsibly if we allow the minority who don't to get away with it. That's why we will continue to take action against anyone we catch littering or fly-tipping where there is sufficient evidence to do so.
"We’d encourage anyone who sees anyone fly tipping or dropping litter to report it to https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/article/12416/Report-fly-tipping
Since the launch of Sunderland City Council's Environmental Enforcement Policy last February, the Environmental Enforcement Team has carried out 4,168 investigations into environmental crimes across the city, including littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping.
This has resulted in 450 formal warnings being issued and 128 fines issued for waste offences across the city.