London: If you are thinking of hiring someone through Facebook to remove your waste, think again. The person(s) on the other end might be a “fly-tipper” who pose online as legitimate waste removal companies but then dump the rubbish on the streets.
You may end up paying a fine of up to 5,000 pounds for fly-tipping, which refers to dumping waste illegally instead of using an authorised method, telegraph.co.uk reported. Authorities in Britain are getting wary of the growing criminal industry of what they call “Facebook fly-tippers”.
With fly-tipping rates rising, councils are bringing prosecutions against people who pay a man-with-a-van to remove bulky items of rubbish — only for it to be fly-tipped and then traced back to them.
Households have been warned they could be fined up to 5,000 pounds and left with a criminal record if they use what the government has dubbed “waste cowboys” — even if they pay them in good faith.
Councils say they are seeing increasing numbers of the bogus waste removal men advertising their services on social media sites.
“We are seeing more and more unlicensed and unscrupulous waste contractors advertising on social media, offering to take rubbish away cheaply,” Nick Wallis of Darlington council — which recently prosecuted a fly-tipper advertising waste collection services on Facebook — was quoted as saying.
In one case, a 23-year-old woman from Somerset was ordered to pay a total of 290 pounds in fines and costs after paying someone contacted via Facebook to take away rubbish, which was then found dumped in a country lane.
In another case, a 45-year-old man from Wolverhampton was fined 440 pounds and ordered to pay costs of 1,064 pounds after he used Facebook to get someone to remove his rubbish, which was later found fly-tipped in a country park.