John Paul Butler, 42, of Six Acres, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, appeared at High Wycombe Magistrates Court via a video link from Hatfield Police Station where he had handed himself into custody after failing to appear at a previous hearing in relation to an offence of fly tipping.
On 14 April 2019, Butler had used a company vehicle to dump furniture and waste in Ling Park Car Park, Beacon Road, Ringshall, which is on the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate. He was witnessed doing this by a member of the public, who took photographs of the incident and reported the matter to the National Trust rangers.
They subsequently informed Buckinghamshire County Council who investigated the case on behalf of the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire.
Mr Butler was traced via his company vehicle, which was visible in the visitor’s photographs. The company was able to identify Mr Butler as being in charge of the vehicle at the time, and they went on to take disciplinary action against him for the misuse of company property.
Enforcement officers from the council interviewed Mr Butler under caution and he claimed that he had only dumped a small box of garden waste at the location, in complete contradiction of the photographic evidence.
Via video link to the court on Monday 21 October 2019 he pleaded guilty to fly tipping and was fined £600 and ordered to pay £500 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. Payment was to be at a rate of £80 per month.
We much appreciate the support of our visitors in keeping an eye out for these criminals, and thanks also to Buckinghamshire County Council for taking cases such as this to court
Caleb Newton, a National Trust Ranger at Ashridge, said: “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Our job is to look after the 5,000 acres of the estate so that nature and wildlife can thrive and visitors can enjoy the beautiful and ancient landscape, but we have to divert considerable resources to clearing and preventing illegal dumping.
“We much appreciate the support of our visitors in keeping an eye out for these criminals, and thanks also to Buckinghamshire County Council for taking cases such as this to court – every successful prosecution is a warning to would-be fly tippers.”
A spokesman for the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire said: “The Ashridge Estate is a much-loved beauty spot where many people go to relax and enjoy nature – which makes it even more shocking when it’s treated like a waste tip. Our thanks go to the member of the public who took the pictures which were key to both the investigation and the prosecution of this case.
“Public vigilance plays an important part in catching fly tippers, though I’d also remind people to ensure they don’t put themselves in danger while obtaining evidence.”
The Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire’s #SCRAPflytipping campaign, launched in 2018, reminds householders and businesses that they have a legal duty of care over their disposal of waste, and that they must take care to ensure that their waste is only removed by a licensed waste carrier.
This case was prosecuted by Buckinghamshire County Council working on behalf of the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire, which has secured over 720 convictions against individuals and companies for illegal dumping and related offences.
On average since April 2010, there has been at least one conviction per week for illegal dumping offences in Buckinghamshire. This resulted in a halving of reported incidents and a significant saving to the Buckinghamshire taxpayer over the period, principally through reducing removal and disposal costs.