Darlington residents fined for rubbish in private yards

Darlington residents fined for rubbish in private yards
18 September 2020

FINES and costs totalling £1400 have been issued by courts yesterday (17 September) to Darlington residents in two separate cases of allowing rubbish to pile up in private yards and gardens.

In the first case, a Darlington woman was fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £838 after continually accumulating household rubbish in the garden of her property which contributed to a rat infestation in the local area.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court found Miss Rebecca Jane Moore guilty in her absence of failing to comply with a Community Protection Notice, under Section 48 (1) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Miss Moore, of West Auckland Road, Darlington, was fined £500 and ordered to pay £288 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

The magistrates considered the fact that Miss Moore’s behaviour was continuing to have an impact on neighbouring properties.

The court heard that, since March 2019, complaints of rubbish accumulating in the rear garden of Miss Moore’s property on West Auckland Road had been reported to officers from Darlington Borough Council’s Environmental Health team.

Miss Moore was issued with a written warning which required her to remove rubbish from her garden and to dispose of it in a proper and hygienic manner. She was also required to prevent a reoccurrence of the problem by ensuring that her garden was kept free from rubbish in the future.

Despite the written warning, complaints of rubbish at the premises and rats in the surrounding neighbourhood gardens continued. Council officers gathered evidence from local residents about how their neighbour’s refusal to correctly store and dispose of her rubbish was affecting them. 

Miss Moore was issued with a Community Protection Notice in June 2019 which required her to keep her garden free from accumulations of rubbish. Unfortunately, the notice was not complied with and the Environmental Health Department was left with no alternative but to prosecute Miss Moore.

Also, yesterday (17 September) at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court, two Darlington men were found guilty in their absence of accumulating rubbish in the rear yard of their rented property.

Connor and Michael Thompson of Lewes Road Darlington were fined for failing to comply with a Community Protection Notice, under Section 48 (1) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Both men received fines of £220 and were ordered to pay £310 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

The court heard that in October 2019 the Environmental Health team at Darlington Borough Council had received complaints that the Thompsons had accumulated rubbish in the rear yard of their rented property in Lewes Road.

The rubbish had still not been removed after the tenants were given a written warning about the rubbish in the yard. Officers issued the tenants a Community Protection Notice in November 2019 which required them to take action to clear their yard of rubbish and thereafter keep it clear of rubbish. The notice was not complied with and, because a fixed penalty fine offered to the tenants was not paid, a prosecution case was brought against the them. 

Environmental Health arranged for the back yard to be cleared of waste in December 2019 and the costs for this clearance will be split between the tenants and the landlord of the property.

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy, which includes environmental health team, said:

“Accumulations of rubbish can cause serious health issues and impact on people’s enjoyment of their property, that is why the council has a statutory duty to provide a service for rubbish removal from domestic premises through its wheelie bin collection service. In these cases, the residents were not using the service provided by the council. In one case their rubbish was contributing to a serious and ongoing rat infestation which was affecting nearby residents.

“The environmental health department deals with over 200 complaints of domestic refuse in private yards and gardens each year. The majority of these are resolved without formal action. However, in cases where warnings and legal notices are ignored, officers will act in order to protect the health of nearby residents. This includes taking action against landlords who fail to fulfil their responsibilities as landowners where rubbish is allowed to accumulate.

“I am pleased that the magistrates agreed that the behaviour of the residents in these cases was unacceptable and the fines imposed reflect the disruption caused to nearby residents. These cases should act as a deterrent to others who ignore warnings from officers that rubbish accumulations on land which they are responsible for is unacceptable.”

For more information about the council’s environmental health department visit the website at:

https://www.darlington.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/environmental-health/