The council is warning litter louts that a range of council officers can and will enforce the law if caught dropping rubbish.
Having pleaded guilty, Michael Gelder, Intake Square, Middleton, was fined £75 by Leeds magistrates last Friday, 13 September. He was also ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and costs of £160.
Council dog wardens and environmental action officers have the power to enforce the Environmental Protection Act 1990. They can take action against anyone committing offences such as littering, flytipping, failing to store waste properly, dog fouling and contravening dog control orders.
In addition, other front line council staff such as housing officers and parks and countryside staff and police community support officers, are able to report offences to the council for investigation.
Gelder was seen throwing away a scrunched up cigarette packet by the dog warden in April this year. He was also witnessed lighting up and discarding the cigarette butt on the pavement.
A local resident also saw the grime crime take place. The litter had been dropped outside his home and he was angry at Gelder’s irresponsible actions.
When issued with the fixed penalty notice, Gelder was advised of the legal consequences if he didn’t pay. Non-payment resulted in prosecution.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:
“Our dog wardens are experts in their own field, however, they have the authority to take action if they see anyone dropping litter too.
“They, along with their environmental enforcement colleagues, can’t and won’t stand by if they see anyone flouting the laws designed to help keep Leeds clean.
Meanwhile a Beeston man has been prosecuted for flytipping furniture.
Instead of donating an unwanted sofa to charity or arranging a bulky waste collection through the council, Michal Ryznar of Brompton View, asked work colleagues to collect it in December 2012. The sofa, initially spotted outside Ryznar’s property by environmental action officers, turned up on a piece of land in a neighbouring street a few days later.
Ryznar was prosecuted for flytipping and Leeds Magistrates have ordered him to pay £450 costs and a £75 fine plus a £20 victim surcharge.
Ryznar could have avoided the hefty fine by donating the sofa to charity or passing it on through Leeds Freegle. Many charities and organisations, including SLATE in Hunslet, will pick up unwanted furniture and take donations of good quality household goods and working electronics.
The council’s recycling centres also have dedicated containers so people can drop off household goods to be re-used by local charities. The east Leeds recycling centre at Seacroft is also home to Revive, a re-use shop selling donated items back to the public at low costs.
If large items or furniture can’t be reused, the council offers a bulky waste collection service.
Councillor Mark Dobson said:
“One person’s trash really is another person’s treasure. We need to ensure things we no longer want or need are reused and recycled while sending things to landfill should be a last resort.
“If your household goods can’t be re-used or recycled then please ensure they’re disposed of properly as you could face a hefty fine for flytipping.”
Re-using and recycling furniture and household goods has multiple benefits; with less waste going to landfill the council saves money and good causes can raise funds while providing affordable goods or they can put them to good use in the services they provide.
For more information on re-use and recycling services in the city, please see www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/ReUse.aspx.