A fed-up farmer turned detective and returned fly-tipped waste to a councillor whose name was found among letters in the rubbish.
Staffordshire farmer Clive Bailye said his sprayer operator was out spraying T2 fungicides on cereals on Wednesday 18 May when he came across three black bin bags dumped in the field in Lichfield, Staffordshire.
The worker brought the bags back to the yard and when they sifted through their contents, they discovered letters addressed to Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd, an independent council member for Burntwood North at Staffordshire County Council.
See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… fly-tipping
Mr Bailye, who manages TWB Farms, and a colleague tracked down an address linked to Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd – and they turned up at the property to “return” the fly-tipped waste.
The incident was recorded on a mobile phone and the footage later posted on Mr Bailye’s Twitter account.
In the exchange, a farmer is heard telling Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd: “We’re bringing all your rubbish back which was left in the field. All that was dumped in our field up the road.
“It’s got your name and address in there, so we’ve brought it all back. It’s all yours. Delivered. Thank you.”
Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd has denied fly-tipping and said he was at his ex-partner’s home collecting belongings when the farmers arrived. His ex-partner paid for someone to dispose of the rubbish, but it was dumped in a field, he added.
He told Farmers Weekly: “I did not dump that rubbish. I don’t know who dumped the rubbish. I assume it was someone related to my former partner.
“The reason why they believed it was mine was because there was a multiple sim card in it which was linked to the members of that household. My former partner had these sim cards from my account and that is why this bewilderment happened.
“I don’t endorse fly-tipping at all. I think it’s horrific. I’m going to meet with the farmer at some point this week and discuss the matter.
“I was disgusted to learn during this that local district councils can’t usually act on things like this, which I’m a bit dismayed about.”
Mr Bailye told Farmers Weekly that his farm had been a victim of three fly-tipping incidents in five days – yet neither the police nor the council is taking responsibility to track down the culprits.
ok this is getting beyond the joke now ! 3rd separate incident of #flytipping in the last 5 days ! both @StaffsPolice and @Lichfield_DC seem to have no interest or intent to act pic.twitter.com/BpfRbgwSUn
— Clive Bailye (@TWBFarms) May 22, 2022
“The police says ‘it’s a council matter’ and the council says ‘it’s a police matter’. We’re just going round in circles,” he said.
Mr Bailye said it was unjust that by law landowners are responsible for clearing fly-tipped waste from private land.
“Dealing with fly-tipping incidents is expensive and time-consuming. Farmers should be able to claim compensation for clearing up after someone else,” he added.
Mr Bailye said farmers were doing their bit for the countryside through regenerative farming practices and getting involved in stewardship schemes to try to enhance the environment. But it was frustrating that some people felt it was acceptable to dump rubbish in beautiful rural areas.
“Farmers are not the refuse collectors of the countryside, but the council and police seem happy for that to be the case,” he said.
A spokesperson for Staffordshire District Council declined to comment on Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd’s appearance in the video.
A spokesperson for Lichfield District Council confirmed that an investigation into fly-tipping is under way.
Farmers Weekly has contacted Staffordshire Police to request a comment.