Published May 15, 2015 4.14pm
Seventeen suspected flytipping cases are being investigated after 24 extra CCTV cameras were set up throughout the county.
We have installed the additional cameras at various hotspots in a bid to deter people from flytipping and to provide crucial evidence when prosecuting those who do.
We are currently investigating 17 suspected flytipping incidents thanks to footage gleaned from our cameras.
We are now warning would-be waste criminals that if they dump waste there is a bigger chance than ever of them being caught red handed on camera thanks to the extra cameras.
Cllr Brian Stephens, our Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: "It is encouraging to see that the additional CCTV cameras are proving effective.
"We hope this sends a strong message to everyone to think twice before dumping rubbish as you never know where our cameras are and who might be watching."
The cameras were provided thanks to funding from local councillors and are part of Operation Stop It - the biggest-ever crackdown on flytipping led by us in partnership with Durham Constabulary, Crimestoppers and the Environment Agency.
Its aim is to educate households and businesses of their duty of care when it comes to disposing of waste while taking action against those who flout the law.
In the south of the county three suspected flytipping incidents recorded on camera have been progressed for prosecution with two other cases under investigation.
In the north of the county six incidents have been progressed for prosecution and five are under investigation.
And in the east of the county one incident is currently being investigated.
In addition, our neighbourhood wardens, who investigate flytipping, have completed specialist enhanced training.
The training involved gathering and logging evidence from the scene, establishing lines of enquiry and interviewing witnesses, conducting Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) interviews and improving statement writing and preparing files for court.
As well as the specialist training and extra cameras, neighbourhood wardens and police carry out regular stop and check exercises to make sure waste carriers are licensed and have the correct paperwork for the waste they are carrying.
Eight waste carriers have been stopped in May - three did not have the correct paperwork and were issued with a notice requiring them to provide this paperwork.
One waste carrier was handed an £80 fixed penalty notice for throwing the notice away and littering.
Ian Hoult, neighbourhood protection manager, said: "The new cameras and specialist training for staff are yet more examples of our commitment to deterring the minority who dump waste illegally and spoil our environment.
"Since the launch of Operation Stop It in November last year we have already reported a decrease in flytipping incidents but we will keep working hard to stop these crimes in our county.
"While education is our priority we do also prosecute offenders as a last resort so we would urge all residents and businesses to dispose of their waste properly and legally."
Meanwhile, neighbourhood wardens also helped the Environment Agency investigate a second hand shop owner who broke the law by storing items and burning them at a site in South Moor, Stanley.
Christopher Williams 56, of Acton Dene in Stanley, was last week handed an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £4,000 costs at Peterlee Magistrates' Court after admitting illegally storing and incinerating waste between December 2013 and April 2014.
Anyone who collects, transports or disposes of waste must be licensed with the Environment Agency - unlicensed waste carriers can be fined up to £5,000 as well as an additional fine of up to £50,000 if the waste is flytipped.
People are reminded that it may be illegal to pay a man with a van to collect items such as furniture if they do not have a licence. Always ask to see their waste carrier licence before handing over waste and cash.
Find out how you can take waste to your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) here or call 03000 261 000.
Business waste is not permitted at HWRCs and must be disposed of legally using a licensed waste carrier or by signing up to a commercial waste collection service.
Flytipping can be reported by calling 03000 261 000 and unlicensed waste carriers can be reported to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or click here.
If flytipping is in a dangerous place or causing an obstruction to a highway please call police on 999.