Revealed: The top ten excuses for fly-tipping

  |  Published: Aug 3rd 2016
Blight on the countryside: Flytipping in scenic Buckinghamshire
Blight on the countryside: Flytipping in scenic Buckinghamshire

Councillors leading a crackdown on fly-tipping have revealed the top ten excuses from people convicted of the offence.

They range from the “The waste fell off the back of my vehicle as I drove along” to “I didn’t dump it – I was there, but I only stopped to do a wee…”

Furious members of a waste partnership in Buckinghamshire published the list after bringing hundreds of fly-tippers to court in a ‘zero tolerance’ campaign over the last 13 years.

Now they hope the catalogue of confessions will help prevent further offences by shining the spotlight on their fight against the illegal dumping of rubbish.

“The excuses range from the banal to bonkers and the bottom line is – there is no excuse for fly-tipping,” said Mike Smith, Chairman of the Joint Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire. “Fly-tipping is a hazard, it’s anti-social and an eyesore. It’s quite wrong to expect the taxpayer to pay for clearing away dumped items and I am delighted that as time goes on, the public and courts are coming on board and helping us achieve really effective prosecution results.”

Since 2003, the partnership - an organisation comprising all the local authorities in the county - has secured more than 500 convictions through the “Illegal Dumping Costs” campaign.

Officials estimate this has resulted in net savings of around £2m to the County Council over the period, and up to a further million for the district councils, principally through reducing removal and disposal costs. 

“Our officers compiled this list to show the type of excuses that people are making after being caught,” said Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment at Buckinghamshire County Council, which investigates and prosecutes the case on behalf of the partnership.

“While initially appearing humorous, this is actually no laughing matter because fly-tipping has blighted our beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside over many years. The extraordinary arrogance of those who dump rubbish in our roads, parks and country lanes is sickening and we will do everything in our power to prevent it.”

County Council Leader Martin Tett said: “We are proud of what has been achieved but we really do need to keep up the pressure and hope that the courts back us with appropriate penalties on conviction. I am amazed at the dumping I regularly see, and am aware of the damage this does to our environment. Stopping this scourge has to remain a priority for us.”

Enforcement Officer David Rounding said: “I am continually astonished at the type of excuses given.

“There are some very odd ones, but the excuse that’s number one in our book is the plain  ‘I paid a man to take it’. This is often an easy option but it can backfire as some businesses and householders do not realise that they have a duty of care to ensure their waste is disposed of properly; and they could therefore be prosecuted even if they innocently pay an unregistered trader to do it for them. The trick is to always check if the person they are paying is a registered waste carrier.

“We do need people to keep a record of the man with van’s details or vehicle registration number so if the waste does turn up dumped illegally they can tell us who took it away.”


10. I know the person who works on the tip and they don’t like me, so when I saw them working, I drove on…

9. I sold my vehicle to some people who were quite intimidating actually…

8. It was my van, but I had lent it to this other man who is now not answering my calls… I think his name is Jim…

7. I saw other fly-tipped waste and thought the area was a recycling centre …

6. The waste fell off the back of my vehicle as I drove along …

5. I didn’t dump it – I was there, but I only stopped to do a wee…

4. My van was untidy and I needed to give my boss a lift so I cleared the rubbish out because I know he doesn’t like the van untidy…

3. I dropped my phone and there was so much rubbish in the car that I could hardly find it – I cleared the rubbish out so I could find the phone…

2. I met a man at the ‘dump’ who said he wanted it – can’t think why he then dumped it rather than taking it back to the ‘dump…’

1. I paid a man with a van to take it…

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