Police have launched an investigation after waste was illegally dumped on three farms in north-east England.
Some 40t of general mixed waste was illegally tipped out the back of a wagon and into a field at Bishop Auckland in County Durham.
In a separate incident, a second lorry was prevented by Durham Police from tipping its waste and has been seized by Durham County Council pending further investigation.
See also: Fly-tipping incidents cost £150m
A second case near Sadberge, close to Darlington, saw 80 bales of old processed waste that had been wrapped in black plastic dumped on land without the landowner’s permission.
The third incident – on Wednesday, 7 September – saw 20 bales of old processed waste wrapped in plastic dumped at a farm near Northallerton.
The Environment Agency is working with police and the local authorities for the areas to follow up lines of enquiry to identify those responsible.
Cost of disposal
Environment Agency enforcement team leader Dave Edwardson said: “At first glance waste that is wrapped in pastic can be mistaken for hay or silage.
“We have also previously investigated cases where waste has been dumped in vacant buildings, leaving landowners with the responsibility and costs of disposing of it.
Mr Edwardson said the agency was determined to tackle waste crime.
“Waste that isn’t managed properly can affect communities, the environment and legitimate businesses and won’t be tolerated.
“I’d urge all landowners, farmers and property agents to be vigilant and report any concerns or anything suspicious to us straight away.”
Durham County Council neighbourhood protection manager Ian Hoult said the local authority took all reports of waste being dumped illegally extremely seriously.
Mr Hoult said: “We would urge the public to be vigilant and report any fly-tipping to us or our partners.”
Campaign to stop waste
In a bid to reduce the amount of fly-tipped waste, the council launched an Operation Stop It! campaign with the Environment Agency and police in 2014.
Encouraging people to dispose of waste responsibly and taking action against those who flout the law resulted in a 20% decrease in incidents.
Anyone with information about fly-tipping should call the Environment Agency’s 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 807 060 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.