A Yate man has been ordered to pay a total of £4,597 in fines and costs after South Gloucestershire Council prosecuted him following the discovery of a number of fly-tips, one of which was caught on camera.
James Crole, 36, of Maple Ridge Lane in Yate, South Gloucestershire appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday 13 November, where he pleaded guilty to the fly-tip offences. He was ordered to pay a fine of £2,333, along with £1,331 in costs and a £933 victim surcharge, making a total of £4,597.
The court heard that over the past 18 months, Bury Hill Lane – a single-track country lane in rural north Yate – has been blighted by a series of fly-tipping incidents which have mostly consisted of commercial 20 litre drums of used cooking oil and other waste associated to the catering/fast food trade. This has led to numerous complaints from local residents and has caused South Gloucestershire Council to incur significant cleansing costs.
Bury Hill Lane is set amongst picturesque countryside and is a haven for wildlife and enjoyed by cyclists, dog walkers, ramblers and horse-riders.
In May 2023, South Gloucestershire Council’s environmental enforcement team started an initiative to identify those responsible for the fly-tips and bring them to justice. A sign warning the public that the area was being monitored by cameras to detect fly-tipping was installed at the entrance to Bury Hill Lane at the junction with Wickwar Road and a camera was periodically deployed to cover likely locations for fly-tipping.
On Wednesday 12 July, a fly-tip took place opposite a layby on Bury Hill Lane whereby two drums of cooking oil and a cardboard box were dumped on woodland. This was photographed and cleaned up by South Gloucestershire Council. On Thursday 13 July 2023, another fly-tip occurred in the layby on Bury Hill Lane directly opposite to the tip that took place the day before consisting of two drums of cooking oil, a cardboard box and a plastic bottle. That too was photographed and cleaned up by the council.
On Saturday 15 July, a further fly-tip took place opposite the same layby in the exact same location as the tip that took place on 12 July. The fly-tip consisted of two drums of cooking oil and a plastic container of cooking oil and this time was captured on a covert camera installed by the council. The dumped waste was photographed and cleaned up by the council.
The video clip of the offence on 15 July showed a male taking items out of the rear of a Ford Ranger pick-up truck and throwing them into the woodland before driving off. James Crole was subsequently identified as this male and was invited to attend South Gloucestershire Council’s Yate offices on 9 August for formal interview under caution. During the interview, Crole stated that he is a fast-food proprietor and owns three mobile food trailers which he operates at various events nationally. He was shown the video footage and admitted being the person on film and that the Ford Ranger was his vehicle.
Crole admitted fly-tipping two cooking oil drums and a plastic container of cooking oil on 15 July 2023. He cited his reason for dumping the oil was that staff at Yate Sort It recycling centre would only allow him to tip one drum of oil per day. It was pointed out that this was a household recycling centre that is not for commercial waste, and Crole confirmed he did not have a commercial contract in place to dispose of his used cooking oil.
Crole stated that he had fly-tipped on Bury Hill Lane “quite a few times” and further admitted responsibility for fly-tipping two drums of used cooking oil, a cardboard box, and plastic bottle at Bury Hill Lane on 13 July 2023, directly opposite the fly-tip he carried out on 15 July. He denied responsibility for fly-tipping two drums of used cooking oil and a cardboard box at Bury Hill Lane on 12 July, despite this being in the exact location as the tip he admitted responsibility for on 15 July, and also consisting of similar material – used cooking oil drums. Crole denied this on the basis that one drum was branded ‘JJ’ cooking oil and the other branded ‘KTC’ cooking oil, stating he only uses ‘JJ’ oil in the course of his business.
Crole was then shown photographic evidence of a further 12 fly-tipping incidents that had taken place at Bury Hill Lane and two other locations nearby between January 2022 and August 2023. Eight of these tips consisted of used cooking oil. He denied responsibility on the basis that none of the drums were ‘JJ’ brand cooking oil – despite him previously stating he had fly-tipped in Bury Hill Lane numerous times. He was reported for summons for the fly-tipping offences that took place at Bury Hill Lane on 12, 13 and 15 July 2023.
Councillor Leigh Ingham, cabinet member responsible for environmental enforcement at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “We’re really pleased that our initiative to use CCTV in this location led to this successful prosecution. I hope it acts as a deterrent to anyone failing in their duty of care for getting rid of waste.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure our waste is disposed of in a responsible and lawful manner. That includes those operating commercially, who should use appropriate commercial facilities and not those intended for residents.”
Residents who see illegal fly-tipping are encouraged to report it by contacting the council’s StreetCare helpdesk on 01454 868000, emailing email@example.com or visiting www.southglos.gov.uk/flytipping