Serial fly-tipper receives custodial sentence

23 April 2018

A serial fly-tipper who dumped waste in various locations throughout North Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire has been handed a two year custodial sentence, following a successful prosecution by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) and South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC).

Robbie Frank Johnston of Windmill Close, Barkway, Royston pleaded guilty at Cambridge Crown Court on Monday 26 February 2018, to 13 offences brought by NHDC and SCDC under section 33 Environmental Protection Act 1990, more commonly referred to as fly-tipping, and was duly sentenced on Friday 20 April 2018.

Johnston pleaded guilty to fly-tipping waste at:

  • Barkway Road, Royston, North Herts
  • Bell Lane, Nuthampstead, North Herts
  • A bridleway just off the A505, Baldock Road, Royston, North Herts
  • Wilbury Hills Picnic Area, Letchworth Garden City, North Herts
  • Standalone Farm, Wilbury Road, Letchworth Garden City, North Herts
  • Therfield Road, Kelshall, North Herts
  • Jubilee Road, Letchworth Garden City, North Herts
  • Modern Grange Farm, Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire
  • Slip End, Ashwell, North Herts
  • Little Chishill Road, Cambridgeshire

Mr Johnston was operating as a waste carrier and despite having a licence he was taking people’s waste and illegally dumping it. The fly-tipping offences he has been prosecuted for took place during 2016/2017 and consisted of builders waste, carpets, furniture, baths, beds, mattresses, garage doors, and other items of household waste. In several of the incidents, Environmental Crime Officers were able to trace the waste back to residents who identified Mr Johnston and even provided photographic evidence of the van he used, which was then traced via the DVLA to him.

North Hertfordshire District Council also successfully applied for a Criminal Behaviour Order which prohibits Mr Johnston from, amongst other things, being involved in any business or enterprise which involves collecting, carrying, depositing and or transporting waste by any means for five years.  The Council’s application for Mr Johnston to be disqualified from driving for three years was also successful.

Andy Godman, NHDC’s Head of Service for Housing and Public Protection, said: "This case clearly illustrates that some individuals will continually try to flout the law when it comes to fly-tipping. Their behaviour is a blight on the district and we will use all the powers available to us to eradicate such illegal activities.  We can all play a part in preventing fly-tipping and we encourage everyone to ensure that their waste is disposed of lawfully.”

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Director of Health and Environmental Services, Mike Hill, said: “This is an excellent example of two neighbouring Councils working together to bring to justice somebody who illegally dumped rubbish in the countryside. There’s absolutely no excuse for it, as there are plenty of ways to dispose of waste properly. If you see someone in the act, don’t approach them, but try to get as many details about the vehicle and the person you see doing it as possible. This gives us more chance of successfully prosecuting them.”

NHDC is part of the Hertfordshire Fly-tipping group, made up of Herts police, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, the National Farmers Union, Keep Britain Tidy, and other councils in Hertfordshire.  The group recently launched a county-wide campaign which calls on residents and businesses to ‘S.C.R.A.P flytipping’ by following an easy-to-remember, five-step checklist when arranging one-off waste collections.

Anyone who spots fly-tipping taking place should report the incident to us on this section of the South Cambridgeshire District Council website.