While a new list of top ten excuses for fly-tipping is laughable no one is raising a smile at the £50million-plus bill for clearing up the waste.
The lame excuses were published by the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities in England and Wales, at the weekend.
The LGA also revealed the massive size of the bill paid by the public purse with more than 900,000 incidents each year.
South Holland continues to be blighted by fly-tipping, with 606 incidents recorded in the year 2015/16.
The district council is taking four people to court following recent cases – three in the Crowland area at Low Road, Welland Bank and Sheppards Drove, and one at South Drove, Spalding Common.
The top excuse in the LGA list was: “I paid a man with a van to take it.”
This was followed by the unlikely: “I thought the green waste in the back of the van was on fire so I tipped it out, after I realised it wasn’t on fire I couldn’t put it back in the van as I had to collect my son from school.”
Environmental experts say not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents it also poses a serious health risk, attracting rats and other vermin.
District council portfolio holder Roger Gambba-Jones says there’s no funny side to fly-tipping – not even to the lame excuses made by those who are caught.
“It’s a disgusting and dangerous practice that blights everywhere,” he said.
Coun Gambba-Jones says the district council makes every effort to trace the source of fly-tipped waste, sometimes the person who had paid a man in van £25 to take it away because that person has often taken the cheapest option to get rid of it “and ignored conveniently where it may end up”.
Once the originator is traced they are given a fixed penalty ticket, if they admit the offence, or taken to court if they don’t admit it.
Coun Gambba-Jones says there are “hot spots” for fly-tipping in South Holland, but once they have been efectively tackled the problem goes elsewhere.
He said: “We are so incredibly rural, the hot spot just moves. It’s incredibly frustrating for those areas of South Holland that have to suffer it over and over again.”
South Holland District Council encourages the public to report fly-tipping, but a spokesman stressed: “We would advise people not to put themselves at risk when reporting live incidents.”
Coun Gambba-Jones said it’s not advised that the public approach fly-tippers but it would be helpful if they can remember as much detail as they can, like vehicle registrations, the time and the place, and tell the council what they saw as soon as they safely can.
He explained: “We say be very, very careful.
“Don’t confront them because some of these people are nasty pieces of work and they will turn on you and they will become aggressive if not actually physically violent.”
Coun Gambba-Jones says there’s no real excuse at all for fly-tipping and it causes a lot of unnecessary cost as well as concern for people living in areas that are targeted.
“We have got a very efficient way of dealing with fly-tipping across Lincolnshire with the Fly Swat team but we would rather not have to do it at all,” he said.
There were 804 reported incidents of fly-tipping in South Holland in the year 2013/14.
The number of incidents dropped to 579 in 2014/15, before climbing again to a little over 600. This means the total number of fly-tipping incidents reported in the last three years is 1,988.
A district council spokesman said: “We would encourage members of the public to report fly tipping to our customer services team in person, on 01775 761161 or online at www.sholland.gov.uk and appropriate action will then be taken.
“Reports should include as much detail as possible particularly if someone has witnessed an event taking place.”