Dominic Adrian Woods (31, from Weymouth) was found guilty of fly-tipping in Whitcombe by Weymouth Magistrates Court on the 3 July 2019 following a trial.
Woods had already pleaded guilty to fly-tipping at The Grove Industrial Estate in Dorchester and two offences of failing to provide waste transfer notes under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The defendant ran a company called ‘Hashtag Trashtag’ but had also traded under the company names of ‘Trashtag Clearances’ and ‘Weymouth Vandyman’. The services he advertised – primarily through social media – were tip runs, clearances, light haulage, removals, deliveries and gardening.
On 28 June 2018, following contact through social media, Woods collected a substantial amount of household waste from a Dorchester householder, who paid £90 for waste disposal but was not given a Waste Transfer Note by Woods.
In July 2018, after Woods failed to keep up with payments on storage units he was renting at The Grove in Dorchester, the owner entered the units to discover a large amount of waste, which was legally defined as fly-tipping. Woods was given until the 13 July to completely clear out both units. However, this did not happen, and the waste was removed at a substantial cost to the owner.
In early July 2018, the manager of a bar in Weymouth contacted Woods asking him to remove around 40 bags of waste from the premises. Woods was paid £65 cash for disposal but was not given a Waste Transfer Note.
On the 19 July, DWP Enforcement Officer Jeremy Gallagher investigated a fly-tipsituated off the A352 at Whitcombe, recovering evidence linking the waste to the household in Dorchester and the bar in Weymouth. Both the resident and bar manager confirmed that the evidence recovered was part of the waste removed by Woods.
After multiple requests to attend an interview were ignored by Woods, he was traced to premises in Portland and arrested by Dorset Police on suspicion of fly-tipping.
During interview with DWP Enforcement Officers, Woods confirmed that he ran a company called ‘Hashtag Trashtag’ but stated that he wasn’t even aware that he needed an Environmental Permit to keep waste at the storage units.
Regarding the Whitcombe fly-tip, Woods confirmed that he had collected around 40 bags of black bag waste from the bar but claimed that it was all glass which was recycled. However, when confronted with the fact that the waste recovered at the fly-tip comprised of till receipts, plastic mugs and paper towels, Woods denied the fly-tipping. When asked if he provided a Waste Transfer Note when he collected the waste he stated that he couldn’t remember and didn’t have any paperwork to check.
Woods also admitted collecting waste from a Dorchester householder, but again he didn’t have any paperwork to show that he gave her a Waste Transfer Note.
At trial, the matters put before the Court were:
- Fly-tipping at Whitcombe on or about the 19 July 2018
- Failure to provide a Waste Transfer Note on the 28 June 2018
- Fly-tipping at The Grove Industrial Estate, Dorchester
- Failure to provide a Waste Transfer Note between 1 July 2018 and 27 July 2018
The Court was also made aware that DWP Enforcement Officers had previously dealt with Woods in February 2018, handing him fixed penalties for fly-tippingat Whitcombe before and for failing to produce Waste Transfer Notes. Both fixed penalties were paid.
Because of this investigation, the defendant’s vehicle was also seized. Woods has been referred to Probation for Pre-sentence Reports and bailed to reappear at Weymouth Magistrates on Monday 12 August for sentencing.
Jeremy Gallagher, Enforcement Officer at the Dorset Waste Partnership, said: –
“This case is a great example of partnership working and shows that DWPEnforcement Officers will pursue criminals involved in this kind of crime.
We understand how people might be tempted to use rubbish disposal services from unverified businesses, especially those found online. However, if the price is too good to be true, the chances are that your waste is unlikely to be disposed of responsibly.
Always make sure you use trustworthy services if you need help disposing of waste, and always get a Waste Transfer Note from whoever you are handing it to that shows what the waste is, who is taking it and where it is going. This will protect you from possible prosecution if your waste is found fly-tipped.”