Illegal dumper faces full force of law

Illegal dumper faces full force of law

Successful prosecution in Manukau District Court

Published: Thursday 25 July 2019

Following a recent successful illegal dumping prosecution in the Manukau District Court, Auckland Council is cautioning Aucklanders to be wary of individuals or organisations offering cheap waste disposal services via social media.

The defendant was charged with three separate charges under Section 15 of the Litter Act 1979 and entered guilty pleas to all charges. He was convicted and sentenced to pay a total fine of $1500 and $130 court costs after the court lowered the fine due to financial hardship. 

The prosecution followed an intensive period of investigation by Auckland Council’s Waste Solutions Enforcement Officers, delving into a series of similar illegal dumping incidents across the region.

Victims of the social media scam were offered very competitive rates for rubbish removal online and thought they were using a credible waste removal service.  However, the perpetrator dumped the rubbish in public places around the region. 

Once the illegal dumping incidents were reported, then investigated by enforcement officers, staff were able to verify with complainants that the person who collected their rubbish and accepted payment for the service was the same person.

“Aucklanders should be sure of who they choose to pick up their rubbish and find a reputable waste collection service,” says Parul Sood, Programme Director – Waste Solutions. 

“If people are approached in person or via social media by individuals or organisations offering to take their waste away for a very cheap price, then we would recommend caution.  If the offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

People won’t get away with it

Offenders who illegally dump rubbish on public property can either be fined or prosecuted under the Litter Act.  Enforcement Officers issued 338 Litter Infringement Notices (LINs) over the 2018/19 year – an impressive 370 per cent increase over the previous 2017/18 year, when 91 LINs were issued.  LIN fines range as high as $400 per infringement. 

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“We would like to commend the efforts of our Enforcement Team.  Investigating illegal dumping cases can be a complex, drawn-out process,” says Sood.

Significant illegal dumping cases can incur a fine of up to $30,000.  Successful prosecutions remain steady at two per year for 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19. 

Mayor Phil Goff says, “Aucklanders are taking full advantage of the 0800 NO DUMP line.  Calls reporting illegal dumping rose 7.5 per cent in the 2018/19 year to 18,395 reports.

“Illegal dumpers are starting to get the message loud and clear that if they dump their rubbish where they shouldn’t, people are going to report it, our officers will investigate, and perpetrators will get caught.

“Aucklanders care deeply about our natural environment.  They don’t want to see our streets, berms, waterways, beaches, parks, reserves, and native bush contaminated with illegally dumped rubbish,” he says.

Aucklanders speaking up

Public awareness campaigns are producing results.  While the number of people reporting illegal dumping is on the rise, tonnages of illegally dumped waste are falling. There was 150 tonnes less dumped in the 2018/19 year, than in the previous year – a 10 per cent drop in the amount being picked up around the region.

Sood says, “The situation is improving. However, we ask everyone to remain alert and aware and keep on reporting incidents. Our ultimate goal is to see no illegally dumped rubbish on our streets or in public places.”