RESIDENTS will be paid to 'dob in their neighbours' under new fly-tipping plans by Pembrokeshire County Council.

The council has come up with a series of joined-up measures - including reporting neighbours - to tackle the fly-tipping issue, which has plagued Pembrokeshire in recent years.

Richard Brown, head of environmental service and public protection, and Sarah Oliver, business change manager, said fly-tipping was one of the top community issues the council wanted to crack down on.

Pembrokeshire residents will be encouraged to use their smartphones to gather evidence and report fly-tipping incidents, with £100 paid out if the person responsible is convicted or handed a fixed penalty notice.

Ms Oliver said they had been researching best practice at other councils that they could apply to Pembrokeshire, with Wolverhampton council’s shop a tipper scheme being used as a basis.

“We would offer a £100 reward for information that leads to the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) or prosecution,” Mr Brown said. “We can’t be everywhere at once but most people these days carry a smartphone, they can grab a picture of an individual or a licence plate. It is a bit like submitting dashcam footage to the police.”

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He added: “Even people who do the fly-tipping [at the moment] would be encouraged to dob their neighbours in.”

Like with litter, the council now has the ability to issue FPNs - fines of £360, halved to £180 if paid within the first ten days. However, if the case goes to court there is an unlimited fine and/or five years imprisonment.

Mr Brown said very serious cases would not be given the option of paying a FPN, but would go straight to court, pointing to cases of dumped asbestos.

While unsure of the time frame, Mr Brown said that Wolverhampton had seen fly-tipping reduced by around 50 per cent.

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Asked about the cost to the authority, Ms Oliver and Mr Brown said it wouldn’t be any cost to the authority anything if it is proven.

To aid with reporting incidents of fly-tipping, the council is setting up a new hotline number, chatbot, and an email address for people to contact.

There will also be a new section on the council’s website dedicated to fly-tipping to keep the public informed.

The pair said it was about getting as much detail from the public as possible.

Sarah Oliver said: “We want a single point that everything comes into - one point so it doesn’t get lost, and it gives us a very clear picture of what is going on.

“What we have done is plate all that together, by streamlining that we are going to get specific intelligence going forward.”

The council will be working with the police and other partner agencies to tackle the issue and change people’s behaviour.

Ms Oliver said the new fly-tipping plans have been a phased roll-out, that has already seen fly-tipping cleaned up quicker than before.

“The data is beginning to show us where the hot spots are – the likely areas,” she said. “The work is already happening in the background - It’s a bit of a rolling start.”

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As part of the rolling start, the council has already begun issuing fixed penalty notices, giving out their first four in December, including one case of dumped black bags on the Mount Estate in Milford Haven.

The council is also looking into purchasing CCTV that can be used for “covert surveillance”, but it was stressed this can only be used in the last instance.

“We are in the process of purchasing some CCTV cameras,” Mr Brown said.

“We get requests for them to be put up in places but we can’t do that if it’s happening once on a street. There would have to be repeated issues. We can’t just set one up where we want, we need to explore everything first.”

Ms Oliver stressed it was important that people hired firms who were approved to remove waste because a homeowner whose rubbish is dumped without their knowledge could still be liable for the fine.

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Mr Brown added: “There is a duty of care as a householder to only give you waste to someone who will dispose of that waste legally. If you don’t it will be against you personally.

“The person who dumps it may get away with it scot-free.”

The new scheme will be launched within the next few weeks, but the pair were unable to give an exact date.

Mr Brown said: “We have got to be clear that there is no excuse for fly-tipping whatsoever. We want to make fly-tippers afraid of what they are doing.

“The community wants everything to be kept tidy, but the council can’t do it on its own.”