Driveway business ordered to pay over £4,500 for illegal fly posting

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Advertising signs on a pallet propped against a traffic light signal

A driveway company based in Pucklechurch has been ordered to pay a total of £4,563 in fines and costs after South Gloucestershire Council prosecuted them for illegally erecting advertising boards on a number of streets.

John Joseph McDonagh of Meadowview in Shortwood, Pucklechurch, was convicted in his absence at Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday 18 March after South Gloucestershire Council’s enforcement officers prosecuted Everset Driveways Ltd for placing advertising boards on council owned street furniture without permission. He was handed a £2,500 fine along with being ordered to pay £1,063 in costs and a further £1,000 in compensation, making a total of £4,563.

The court heard that between September 2022 and October 2023 alone, a total of 113 advertising boards belonging to Everset Driveways Ltd had been found by the council fly posted across the area.

The council operates a ‘three-strike’ approach to offences of this nature, and first wrote to Everset Driveways Ltd on 14 January 2022 after advertising boards had been placed on street furniture owned and maintained by South Gloucestershire Council without permission. On 2 July 2022 a further letter was sent to the business for a repeat offence. A third offence was discovered on 28 November 2022 at Park Road, Kingswood. This led to the business being issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) and a Community Protection Warning for them to desist in the future placement of advertising boards, except for directly outside of where they were working, at the time, and for the duration they were working. The FPN was resolved within the 10 day discounted period at the cost of £75.

On 12 October 2023 one of the council’s Street Enforcement officers was patrolling along Syston Way, Kingswood when he saw four advertising boards for Everset Driveways Ltd fixed to traffic light junction railings. He also saw a large wooden pallet which had just been propped against the traffic light post and carried two further advertising boards. On another part of the junction he could see an additional pallet that had two more signs upon it that had been propped up against one of the legs of a road sign. Recognising the advertisements constituted an offence of flyposting photos were taken of them all. The officer walked around the wider area and could find no trace of Everset staff working at any nearby address.

The following day, Friday 13 October, a council cleansing operative was in the Filton area when he saw a number of Everset advertising boards had been fixed to the railings around the major roundabout junction of Gloucester Road North, Southmead Road and the A4174. There were a total of seven boards, directly adjacent to the highway at the four entry/exit points of the roundabout.

On Monday 23 October 2023, a Street Enforcement officer was on foot patrol in New Cheltenham Road, Kingswood when he came across work being done on a driveway. Outside of that address he also saw two large red plastic barriers blocking access to the work in progress, and attached to each of the barriers was an Everset advertising board. The officer correctly identified that this did not constitute an offence, however, on patrolling a wider area from the address he spotted boards that had been fixed to a wooden pallet propped against a bollard at the junction of Stanton Close with New Cheltenham Road – a distance of some 50-60yds from the address being worked on by Everset. In the opposite direction, about 60yds from the address, he found another pallet propped against a telegraph pole with advertising boards attached to it.

On 8 November 2023 a Street Enforcement officer was on patrol at the junction of St. Briavels Drive and Highworth Crescent in Yate when he saw a wooden pallet propped against the hedge and on the opposite side of the junction two advertising boards for Everset Driveways Ltd fixed together and propped against the hedge. Both the pallet and the boards had the potential to have been knocked over or have fallen causing injury or hazard to pedestrians.

The court recognised that South Gloucestershire Council had been through a thorough process with the company and the offence was compounded following the issue of the FPN and their subsequent failure to amend their behaviour. The Magistrate also stated that if it had been possible for them to do so, they would have issued fines for each of the individual 113 boards that had been posted. As it was, they sentenced for them as a whole.

Robert Evely, Environmental Enforcement team leader at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “After discovering such a vast amount of fly posted advertising material across South Gloucestershire we were left with no other option than to prosecute the business.

“The council’s environmental enforcement, street enforcement and cleansing teams have worked together to gather the evidence and progress this case. The sheer number of offences discovered constitutes a significant use of council resources, as well as presenting a risk to pedestrians due to their placement, and a risk to highway users due to the obvious distraction they can present.”

To report an issue to South Gloucestershire Council visit www.southglos.gov.uk/report, contact the StreetCare helpdesk on 01454 868000 or email streetcare@southglos.gov.uk