Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 08.35.09Littering, dog fouling, abandoned vehicles and build-ups of food waste continue to be tackled in County Durham.

As part of its ongoing efforts, Durham County Council issued 67 fixed penalty notices in December 2015, including 53 for littering, one for dog fouling, 12 for untidy gardens or yards and one for an abandoned vehicle.

Twenty-seven people were prosecuted for failing to pay the littering fines and four others were prosecuted for failing to pay fines for dog fouling.

The council works with police and other partners in combatting environmental crimes to improve surroundings and promote safer communities.

As well as issuing fixed penalty notices, six community protection warnings were handed to properties with untidy gardens or yards.

And four businesses were issued food waste warnings, giving them 24 hours’ notice for the waste to be removed, following concerns about the amount of food waste being accumulated.

Meanwhile, 161 stray dogs were picked up, 148 antisocial behaviour cases were investigated and 71 alcohol seizures were carried out throughout the month.

Alongside the enforcement action, teams visited seven primary schools to help plant 21 trees and taught pupils how to dispose of litter responsibly.

And, as part of Operation Stop It – a multi-agency crackdown on waste crime – 421 flytipping incidents were investigated with one person prosecuted and four stop and check operations were carried out to make sure waste carriers were licensed.

Meanwhile, known dumping grounds for white goods are being targeted – with leaflets being dropped through letterboxes to remind people about proper disposal.

Ian Hoult, Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We are regularly coming across areas where it is normal for bulky items such as fridges, freezers and washing machines to be left in a yard or a garden for ‘man with a van’ type businesses to collect.

“We’re making sure residents know what to do with these kinds of items if they no longer want them to stop them being left for unlicensed waste carriers to collect as we often find that they will be stripped of their valuable parts and dumped.

“This is all part of our commitment to stopping waste crimes such as flytipping through Operation Stop It, which has seen a 30 per cent drop in these offences over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, added: “It has been another busy period for our neighbourhood protection teams who work hard to tackle those offences that affect our quality of life.

“We would encourage residents to continue to report these issues to us and help play their part in preventing them arising in the first place – we all have a duty of care to make sure our rubbish is disposed of responsibly and legally.”

Find your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre at www.durham.gov.uk/hwrc and arrange a bulky waste collection by calling 03000 261 000.

Businesses can find a licensed waste carrier at www.gov.uk/find-registered-waste-carrier or arrange a trade waste collection from the council at www.durham.gov.uk/commercialwaste or call 03000 262 660.

Environmental crimes can be reported at www.durham.gov.uk or call 03000 261 000.

Unlicensed waste carriers and waste crime can be reported to Crimestoppers at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.

From 6 April all dogs must be microchipped by law – for more information about microchipping visit www.durham.gov.uk/microchipping or call Stray Aid on 0300 999 4247.