Fly-tippers dump sofas as self-isolating families fall prey to 'man with van'

Two distinctive sofas were among the rubbish dumped at a North Staffordshire beauty spot after lockdown led to the closure of tips. The waste - which also included a broken table, a baby bath and around nine bin bags - was abandoned on a country lane known as Sheepwash in Caverswall. The discovery was made as fly-tipping has soared in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic with many residents falling prey to the unlicensed 'man with a van'.

Across the country as a whole there has been a 300 per cent rise in reports of illegally dumped household items. Self-isolatingfamilies are producing far higher levels of waste following clear outs and plenty of leftover food leading to some local authorities struggling to keep on top of disposal. Now Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has confirmed it is looking to prosecute those responsible for the Caverswall incident.

Electrical contractor Hadrian Bithell discovered the rubbish when taking his dog for a walk on Monday (April 6).

The fly-tipping in Caverswall

The 52-year-old, who lives in Weston Coyney but has a business unit in Caverswall, said: "I go every day as I take my dog for a walk as a have unit up there. "I've seen fly-tipping there before but never anything on this scale. It wasn't just a couple of bags.

It's made a right mess. "It's a small lane with only about three properties but the waste was partly blocking the highway. It's a public right of way.

"They must have come late at night in a tipper truck. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a commercial operator trying to make a quick buck by offering to collect waste. "If we went through the bags and found the information I bet their excuse would be  that they had paid a company to take it away and it wasn't their fault.

"To be fair to the council it was removed almost straight away once a resident had reported it.

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"But it's created more work for them at a time when everyone is trying to avoid going out. "I know the tips are closed at the moment but there's no excuse. They should have just kept the items at their property like the rest of us until this is all over.

It's a disgrace." Staffordshire Moorlands District Council confirmed there had been an increase in fly-tipping since the country went into lockdown. A spokesman said: "Fly-tipping is never acceptable.

It's irresponsible, anti-social and expensive to clean up.

"There is no excuse for anyone to dump their waste like this and we will always seek to prosecute those responsible wherever possible.

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"The council is working hard to support our communities through the current coronavirus emergency and we would urge people to help us focus our resources on the people that need them at this time by behaving in the best interests of all our communities not fly-tipping.

"We realise that people may be using the increased time spent at home to spring clean and tidy up their homes and gardens but it is really important that any waste generated is not illegally dumped - if it can't be re-used or recycled please store it until such time as the tips re-open."

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