COUNCIL leaders in Dorset have called for jail time for the 'worst offenders' of fly-tipping - as it emerged it cost taxpayers more than £60,000 to clean up in less than a year.

The call comes as it is revealed there were 1,501 incidents of fly-tipping reported to Dorset Council between April 2020 and January 2021 - costing £60,840 to clear up.

During that period, 252 investigations into incidents of fly-tipping were carried out which resulted in just 10 fixed penalty notices being handed out, with 47 fines for other environmental crimes.

The number of fly-tipping incidents is less than last year. According to data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), 1,870 fly-tipping incidents were reported to Dorset Council in 2019-20.

Council leaders have called for an increase in the punishment for the worst offenders of fly-tipping, which currently stands at an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison, as well as more freedom for the council to install video cameras to 'catch fly-tippers and litterers in the act'.

Gemma Clinton, head of commercial waste and strategy at Dorset Council, said: "Fly-tipping can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court. This should be a sufficient deterrent for most, but the kind of lazy and selfish individual who feels fly-tipping is an acceptable means of disposing of their waste is unlikely to be dissuaded from this illegal behaviour regardless of the potential consequences.

"We all need to work together to bring fly-tipping and littering into the country’s social conscience once again. In the same way that smoking indoors in public or driving without a seat-belt were once the norm but are now rightly considered unacceptable, a combination of law changes and consistent public messaging on a national scale could really make a difference in changing behaviours.

"We would also welcome any change in legislation that made our Enforcement Team’s job easier, such as less legal bureaucracy involved in installing video cameras to catch fly-tippers and litterers in the act, or stricter rules on advertising 'man in a van' services on social media.

"We would also welcome courts imposing heavier fines for fly-tipping and potential prison time for the worst offenders."