MORE THAN 600 calls have been made to the telephone hotline set up in Scotland in March to allow people to report anyone they see dumping rubbish in the countryside.

David McPherson, fly-tipping prevention officer with Keep Scotland Beautiful, said the response was excellent and showed the high level of public concern.

Before the campaign began, most people did not know how or where to report incidents, he added.

The campaign, called “Dumb Dumpers”, involves television, radio and poster advertising.

It encourages people to report fly-tipping by calling the hotline (08452 304090), sponsored by the Scottish Executive.

John Summers, director of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Apart from costing the average farmer £1000 a year to clear up, fly-tipping is a blot on our landscape.”

Research has shown that while 24% of fly-tipping came from shops, offices and builders, some 73% of the dumped junk came directly from households.

At the moment, the usual maximum penalty for fly-tipping in Scotland is £20,000.

But the government plans to increase that ceiling to £40,000 under its flagship Antisocial Behaviour Bill.

When calls are made to the hotline reporting an incident of fly-tipping, the information is passed to the relevant police force and to the local council.