More than 100 tonnes of industrial waste – including an illicit cannabis factory – have been illegally dumped on an Essex farm.
Ed Ford, who farms at Childerditch, near Brentwood, says the problem has escalated over recent weeks – and is the worst he has ever experienced.
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Police insist they take fly-tipping seriously – and last month launched a special initiative called Operation Buzzard to clamp down on rural crime.
But the dumping continues.
Mr Ford says it will cost him £8,500 to have two loads of the rubbish taken away and disposed of legitimately. Other farms in the area also have similar problems.
Mr Ford says paying to have other people’s rubbish taken away is a cost his business can ill afford and will do nothing to deter the criminals who tip waste on his land from doing it again in future.
The tipped waste includes relatively small loads like this old bath, discarded floorboards and garden decking.
But it also includes whole lorry loads of industrial waste which have been tipped into fields.
Within easy reach of the M25 motorway, this pile includes an old mattress, unwanted ornaments and students’ exam papers, which appeared over night this week.
But perhaps most surprising of all is this discarded cannabis factory – complete with the heaters and lights needed to grow an illegal crop of marijuana.
The cannabis factory even includes dumped containers of “Overdrive” bud ripener liquid fertiliser to help ensure a bumper harvest.
Nearby, three fridges have been thrown by the roadside. Other farmers in the area have similar problems, says Mr Ford.
People often sling fridges into the ditch and then drive off – sometimes in broad daylight, says Mr Ford.
Blocking field entrances with concrete stops the dumping for a while – but the criminals soon find somewhere else to tip their waste.
This pile of rubbish includes builders’ waste and dozens of old gas canisters.
Some of the gas canisters have been used to blow up party balloons.
Other cylinders still contain gas.
The dumping continues despite warnings that they could be caught by police using CCTV and automatic numberplate recognition.