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Woman taken to court for failing to assist fly-tip investigation

Published August 09, 2021 9.09am

A woman has been fined for failing to comply with a council investigation into waste being dumped near a County Durham village.

Tracy Patton, 57, of Canterbury Crescent in Crook, was prosecuted by us for not assisting in a fly-tip investigation.

CCTV footage

In April 2020, our neighbourhood wardens were alerted by CCTV footage showing an area of land on Roundhill Way, Willington Industrial Estate.

The footage showed a black Kia Sorrento pull up to the area, where a man got out of the vehicle and proceeded to dump several items of waste on the ground.

We carried out a Police National Computer (PNC) check of the vehicle, which listed Patton as its previous keeper.

Vehicle check

In November 2020, a check with the Motor Insurance Bureau named Patton as an insured driver on the vehicle on the date of the offence.

When speaking to a neighbourhood warden, Patton stated she had sold the Kia before the date of the offence. The neighbourhood warden asked Patton to provide documentation to show proof of sale.

Patton failed to provide any proof of sale, and a notice was served requesting her to attend an interview in December 2020.

A further notice was issued requesting Patton to produce documentary proof of the sale of the Kia.

Patton did not attend the arranged interview, did not provide any documentary proof as requested, and the neighbourhood warden received no further contact from her in relation to the notices.

Court action

On 5 August 2021, Patton appeared at Peterlee Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to charges of failing to assist with the investigation and failure to provide documents on the sale of the vehicle. She was fined £294 and ordered to pay £290 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Oliver Sherratt, our head of environment, said: "Fly-tipping is a significant offence that causes serious environmental damage to our county. We investigate any instances of waste being illegally dumped, so it is important that people assist us in this so that we can take action against those responsible."