FLY-TIPPERS are being hunted after repeatedly blighting the North East coastline with bags of rubbish and cut-up supermarket carrier bags.
Waste crime officers from the Environment Agency are appealing for help to track down a prolific litter-bug who has struck more than 30 times since October between Newbiggin by the Sea and Druridge Bay. They are also on the look-out for the culprits behind a year-long campaign that has seen deliberately shredded bags dumped on Roker and Whitburn beaches in Sunderland.
Dave Edwardson, environmental crime team leader for the Environment Agency, urged anyone who has seen anything suspicious or who believes their rubbish has been disposed of illegally to get in touch.
“We are looking for information to help us track down a prolific offender who is blighting Northumberland’s beautiful coastline by dumping domestic waste there illegally,” said Mr Edwardson, who revealed each incident has seen up to two tonnes of rubbish left, suggesting a large van or low-loader was needed to transport it.
“We are also looking for information to help us track down whoever is dumping these plastic bags illegally.
“Sunderland Council put in a lot of hard work to keep the beaches clean but we need to find the people responsible to stop them being dumped and affecting the local coastline.
“We have been investigating potential sources including local foul and surface-water sewers, waste plastics operators, the local supermarket, the port and marina for any activity but have yet to find the people responsible.
“Whoever is dumping the plastics is in breach of Environmental Permitting Regulations, the penalties for which can be an unlimited fine and up to five years’ imprisonment for the most serious offences.”
In the case of the Sunderland pollution Mr Edwardson said it is possible a fly- tipper might not be responsible with the rubbish being dumped from a ship, but his team wants to hear from anyone who knows a reason why the plastic bags would be cut up into strips.
As well as being unsightly, the cut-up bags are a potential hazard to coastal wildlife, become tangled up in seaweed and can remain in the area for a long time.
Anyone with information about the fly-tipping incidents on the Northumberland coast should report it by either contacting the Environment Agency’s 24 hour hotline 0800 80 70 60 or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.