In a recent case heard at Leeds Magistrates Court, David Dixon from Nansen Grove, Bramley, found himself slapped with a fine and a suspended prison sentence after being caught on camera illegally dumping construction waste in a bin yard infested with rats.

The court heard that an observant neighbour, tired of the mess and disturbance caused by Dixon, filmed him tipping waste from his white Ford Transit van. The footage was subsequently handed over to Leeds City Council’s serious environmental crime team, who identified Dixon’s vehicle and initiated legal proceedings.

Despite having a previous conviction for fly tipping in 2010, Dixon failed to cooperate with the investigation and skipped court appearances. His evasion came to an end when West Yorkshire Police apprehended him, leading to his appearance in Leeds Magistrates Court on February 28.

As a consequence, Dixon received a six-week suspended prison sentence, valid for six months. Additionally, owing to outstanding court fines, he was ordered to pay £145 in costs and a victim surcharge of £154.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Dixon lacked a waste carrier licence for transporting waste as part of his business. The bin yard used for dumping and storing the waste was also discovered to be infested with rats.

In his defence, Dixon claimed that the bin yard belonged to his sister, granting him permission to dump waste there. However, council environmental enforcement officers debunked this assertion, confirming the absence of an environmental permit or exemption for waste deposit and storage in the bin yard. They also found that the bin yard did not belong to his sister.

Leeds City Council continues its crackdown on fly tippers, resulting in a 15% reduction in reported fly tips in Leeds during 2022/23, in contrast to the national average reduction of 1%. The council is set to launch the Leeds Accredited Waste Carrier Scheme (LAWCS), aiming to help residents identify legal and responsible waste carriers.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, said: “I’m proud of the work Leeds is doing to combat fly-tipping in our city and grateful to those residents who are playing their part, whether that is making sure that they check who takes their waste away or providing important information to help us track and convict fly-tippers.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach to environmental crime and I hope this particular prosecution is a warning to anyone thinking about fly tipping their business waste.

“We know that most people want to dispose of their waste correctly, and we will soon be formally launching an innovative accreditation scheme for Leeds to help residents find someone trusted.”