Bogus house clearance men ordered to pay £2,436 for fly-tipping elderly couple’s personal belongings

Mon, 22 Oct 2018

Two men hired for a house clearance have been fined a total of £2,436after an elderly couple’s personal belongings were found fly-tipped near Swanland.

Items including family photos, a stamp collection, ornaments and children’s toys were discovered among other possessions dumped on land off Swanland Dale in three separate fly-tipping incidents in January this year.

Raimond Arnold, care of Horners Terrace, Whitby, and Liam Hamilton, of Moorhouse Road, Hull, appeared before Beverley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 18 October in relation to the incidents.

Mr Arnold pleaded guilty to three counts of the illegal disposal of waste on land near Swanland. He was fined £400 and was ordered to pay costs of £746.24 and a victim surcharge of £40.

Mr Hamilton pleaded guilty to failing in his duty of care for not checking waste was being disposed of by a registered waste carrier. He was fined £400 and was ordered to pay costs of £810.24 and a victim surcharge of £40.

The court heard Mr Arnold and Mr Hamilton both worked on a house clearance together in Hull, for a family who were preparing for a house sale as their elderly parents had moved into a care home due to ill health.

Mr Hamilton had responded to an advert the family had placed on Facebook for the sale of a fridge-freezer.

Noticing the large number of items in the home, Mr Hamilton mentioned the name of a house clearance firm to the family and offered to give them a quote. The family believed he was working for the firm he mentioned and agreed to pay him £1,500 to clear the items.

Belongings were sorted into items for disposal and other sentimental possessions which the family wanted to keep.

Mr Hamilton paid his friend, Mr Arnold, to remove the waste items from the house – but he carelessly removed all the items, including the belongings the family wanted to keep.

Mr Arnold admitted he dumped all the items from the house at two separate locations on land off Swanland Dale, near Swanland.

Mr Hamilton did not check what his friend had done with any of the waste.

A streetscene enforcement officer from East Riding of Yorkshire Council was called to reports of fly-tipping in Raywell Lane and Tom Potts Row, off Swanland Dale on three occasions, on 19, 23 and 29 January this year.

Each of the piles of waste contained similar items, including pictures, decorations, dance costumes, dance school equipment and leaflets, bedding, clothing, shoes and other household items.

The belongings were traced back to the elderly couple’s home in Hull and, following a lengthy investigation, the council brought charges against Mr Arnold and Mr Hamilton.

Some of the items were recovered and offered to the family.

Paul Tripp, head of the streetscene services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “This was a shocking case with a large amount of waste fly-tipped on public land, and one which caused a lot of distress for the family concerned.

“We continue to remind residents of the dangers of using people who respond to social media posts, because if they are rogue operators your property could end up being fly-tipped, like in this case.

“Please follow the council’s SCRAP Code and make sure the people you are using hold a waste carriers’ licence.”

To prevent incidents of fly-tipping, residents are urged to take any waste that can’t go in their bins to their local household waste recycling site, or use the council’s own bulky waste collection service, or hire a licensed waste carrier to take the rubbish away.

Anyone caught fly-tipping could receive a £400 fixed penalty notice, or if the case goes to court they could face an unlimited fine or even imprisonment.

Residents are urged to follow the council’s SCRAP Code and make the following checks when hiring anyone to take away their rubbish:

  • Suspect – Beware of rogue waste carriers. Reputable companies do not usually make direct approaches. If in any doubt as to whether someone is a legitimate waste carrier, do not allow them to take your waste.
  • Check – Ask to see their waste carrier registration details and verify them by checking the online register atwww.environment-agency.gov.uk/publicregisteror by calling the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506. Note down the registration number of the vehicle used to take your waste away.
  • Refuse – Refuse unsolicited offers to have any rubbish taken away. Always carry out your own research and choose who you wish to approach.
  • Ask – Always ask what exactly is going to happen to your rubbish and seek evidence that it is going to be disposed of appropriately. A legitimate, professional waste carrier who wants your business should not object to being asked reasonable questions.
  • Paperwork – Make sure you get a proper receipt containing the written information for your waste. This should include what has been removed and where it will be going. Make sure the firm’s or trades person’s details are included.