A joint approach to taking down the county’s fly-tippers has been discussed.
Cheshire police and crime commissioner John Dwyer wants police, the Environment Agency, National Farmers’ Union, the county’s councils and the public to work together to tackle the problem.
Mr Dwyer specifically highlighted those advertising on social media offering to collect large amounts of waste or scrap. He said that by employing them people could be inadvertently supporting criminal activity. And if illegally dumped waste can be traced back, then the owner of the rubbish could be fined up to £5,000.
Mr Dwyer said: “If you see someone offering to collect waste in your area, or are looking to approach someone, ask them the following simple questions that any legitimate company should be able to easily answer: What is your official company name? What is your waste permit number? Will you be able to provide a waste transfer note?
“I talk about talking waste crime in my police and crime plan, and it’s really important that we bring all relevant bodies around the table to discuss a shared approach. Whether you’re in an urban or rural area, illegally dumped waste is a blight on communities. We all share the same goal, so it makes sense that we work together and share data to enable us to tackle it.
“But we also know that prevention is better than the cure, and there are easy steps that people can take to stop their waste getting into the hands of fly-tippers. Be vigilant and ask those three simple questions. That way you can protect our local environment from waste crime and save yourself from a potential £5,000 fine.”
Mr Dwyer said data on waste crime was often collected by local authorities, which are responsible for clearing fly-tipping – but it was not necessarily shared with the other local authorities in the county, the police or other agencies.
He said that working together and sharing data would enable the police to build intelligence and target waste crime hotspots across the county.
Sgt Rob Simpson, from Cheshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team said: “Waste crime is often orchestrated by organised crime groups and it affects us all, whether it’s dumped in the fields our food is grown in or the pavements or alleys outside our homes.
“That’s why it’s really important for all agencies to work together and for us to work with the public, too. By taking a few simple precautionary steps you can help stop waste crime, save yourself a fine, and prevent even more serious crime that could be lurking behind the scenes.”