A Hampshire man who used Facebook to facilitate his fly-tipping offences has been prosecuted by Wiltshire Council.

Nicholas Farmer of Camelot Close, Andover, appeared at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Thursday (October 6), where he pleaded guilty to multiple environmental offences.

The offences include two counts of fly-tipping waste; two counts of failing in his duty of care when managing controlled waste; failing to produce waste transfer notes for his waste collection business; and transporting controlled waste without a waste carrier license.

Farmer was imposed an 80-hour Community Order from the court, as well as an immediate three-month disqualification from driving and an order to pay £750 in costs to Wiltshire Council.

In addition to this, the court issued a Vehicle Forfeiture Order that deprives Farmer of his Ford Transit van used to fly-tip the waste. The van will be destroyed.

Facebook fly-tipper

The council presented evidence to the court that Farmer advertised on a local Facebook community group offering a rubbish collection service, despite having no waste carrier license.

Farmer’s Facebook posting advertising waste collection services. Image from @wiltscouncil on Twitter

A Marlborough householder paid Farmer £60 to collect waste, which was then dumped in separate locations in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the outskirts of Marlborough.

The homeowner whose waste was fly-tipped by Farmer was issued a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice (reduced to £200 if paid within 10 days) for giving their waste to Farmer and not checking if he had the appropriate license to do so.

Commenting on the case, councillor Mark McClelland, cabinet member for transport and waste, said: “This prosecution highlights the growing problem of rogue unlicensed waste collectors advertising on local Facebook community groups and then fly-tipping the waste to avoid lawful disposal charges.”

“These people think they can pocket the cash and dump the waste without repercussions, but as this successful prosecution shows, we will not tolerate fly-tipping in Wiltshire.”

McClelland urged administrators of social media community groups to ensure that people advertising services, like waste clearance or scrap metal collection, are correctly licensed, and that their adverts have a valid waste carrier license number.

Image from @wiltscouncil on Twitter

“This would help to protect people from rogue waste collectors and enable the council to trace fly-tippers,” he said.

“The court’s decision to deprive Mr. Farmer of his driving license and vehicle shows how seriously they are taking fly-tipping. This sentence sends a strong message that Wiltshire Council will pursue all fly-tippers.”

The council has advised people against using rubbish clearnace services without checking they are fully licensed to take waste away.

It encouraged people to note down valid upper tier waste carrier numbers and details of any vehicles used – like the make, model and registration number.