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Don't fall foul of rogue waste collectors this Christmas

Originally released on 13/12/2016

South Norfolk Council is warning residents and businesses about the perils of using unregistered waste collectors.

The warning comes after an increase in reports to the Council of unlicensed companies offering to collect people's unwanted items for cash and then later fly-tipping them.

Cabinet Member for Environment and Recycling, Councillor Kay Mason-Billig, said:

"It may seem like a cheap option, but what many people don't realise is that by using these unlawful companies, they themselves risk a hefty fine and a criminal record."

All residents and businesses have a legal obligation to ensure their waste is disposed of properly. Residents can be fined up to £5,000 if they pass their waste to an unauthorised person who then dumps it illegally.

Councillor Mason-Billig added:

"As well as cold calling properties where waste can be seen awaiting disposal, rogue waste collectors are also now using social media to look for trade.

"They are putting the legitimate waste collectors at a disadvantage, blighting our beautiful countryside and turning residents into criminals."

Any company offering to take away waste should be a Registered Waste Carrier and people should ask to see their license. The company should also provide a receipt, which should include the date and time of collection, a description of the waste and a record of where it is being disposed of. If they cannot provide this information, then they could be operating illegally.

"Our Officers go to great lengths to find evidence linking the waste to the offender, including examining bags of rubbish by hand.

"Fly-tipping ruins our countryside and costs all council taxpayers to clear up. It's the individual's responsibility in law to stop it happening too."

If you are arranging for anyone other than South Norfolk Council to collect any waste from your home, always carry out the following checks:

  • Ask to see their waste carrier license issued by the Environment Agency - anyone removing waste from your property must have a license. To check a license contact the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506.
  • Ask what is going to happen to your waste. You have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent someone dumping your waste unlawfully.
  • Record the vehicle registration numbers of any vehicle used by a private waste carrier to take your waste away. The waste carrier will be less likely to illegally dump your waste if aware that vehicle registration and details have been recorded. If waste is found dumped illegally and traced back to you, investigators will have more information to trace the culprits.
  • Ask for a proper invoice and receipt and get more than one quote - and expect to pay a reasonable fee. An unusually low quote, or an offer to take rubbish away for free in order to profit from any scrap metal that may be among it, should be treated with suspicion. Residents have ended up paying again to have their fly-tipped waste removed and disposed of correctly.

The Council is urging anyone who is approached by a rogue waste collector to try and get the vehicle plate number, a description of them, and report the incident to the Council free on 0808 168 2999.