West Mercia Police has launched a regional scheme to try and turn the tide on tyres being illegally dumped after seeing an increase in cases during lockdown.
It comes after more than 1,000 tyres were dumped on land owned by Bradford Estates during the past 12 months.
“Incidents of illegal dumping have increased significantly in the past 18 months,” said Pc Phil Nock, rural business crime officer for Shropshire and West Mercia Police.
“We’ve been working alongside Lord Newport and the Bradford Estates team to get to the bottom of the issues affecting them and others in the area for some time now.
“We’re pleased to be at a point where we can announce our brand-new, game-changing scheme.”
The Tyre Tagging scheme will mean all garages in Shropshire and the surrounding areas will be asked to ‘tag’ their tyres, so that when they dispose of them there is a trace.
If the tyre is then found dumped, it can be traced back to the garage it originated from, meaning police will be able to find out how it was disposed of.
“We hope this will put the responsibility back onto the garages and stop any underhand dealings going on,” Pc Nock said.
“It’s a completely free scheme where we will provide garages with everything they need in order to mark their tyres so there’s no reason not to get involved.”
Around 55 million waste tyres are illegally disposed of annually, according to Government estimates. Problems often occur when unscrupulous tyre dealers collect old tyres from garages with the promise they will be disposed of correctly.
They often then dump the tyres under the cover of darkness - as has happened on Bradford Estates several times over the past 12 months.
Fly-tippers illegally dumping tyres can face five years in prison, unlimited fines and confiscation of profits.
Pc Nock said this is an issue all over the UK and he hopes the scheme can be rolled out to help combat the issue in other areas too.
“For now this is very much a Shropshire scheme but we’re already having very positive conversations with other police forces across the country and I’m hoping that within time this will be standard practice nationwide," he said.
Alexander Newport, managing director at Bradford Estates, says he’s delighted that this new scheme will mean less chance of repeat offending in the locality, in the interests of all concerned – not just property owners, but also the police, Shropshire Council and members of the public.
“It’s been a hugely frustrating 12 months dealing with fly tippers but I’m pleased that we’ve been able to assist West Mercia Police and that the scheme will be a possible solution to this enormous problem," he said.
Bradford Estates, comprising of 12,000 acres of land and home to over 200 families and businesses, has been repeatedly targeted by fly-tippers over the past year, with rubbish including sofas, toys, tyres and cannabis farm waste found on verges and roads and in gateways.
The estates took matters into their own hands by installing CCTV cameras and setting up an internal litter picking group.
“Pc Nock has been fantastic throughout and I want to pass on my thanks to him and his team,” added Alexander.
“This is a huge step forward and I’m looking forward to seeing the difference made.”