Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 09.06.26Flytippers come in all shapes and sizes, but thankfully the latest individual caught on covert cameras is unlikely to be brought before the beak.

As part of Operation Stop It – the biggest ever crackdown on the illegal dumping of waste in County Durham – CCTV was hidden at known hotspots.

But when Durham County Council’s neighbourhood wardens checked the cameras recently they found the latest images were no aviary day footage – with a curious pheasant in a flap as it took a video selfie.

Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager Ian Hoult said: “There was some excitement in the office when it was thought that one of our cameras had been triggered and again caught a criminal.

“But thankfully on this occasion, nobody had fallen ‘fowl’ of the law.”

Flytipping is a serious offence which blights the environment, can pollute rivers and other waterways, endangers wildlife and is costly to clean up. If waste is flytipped and is traced back to you, you could be prosecuted and fined up to £50,000. 

Launched in November 2014 Operation Stop It sees Durham County Council is working in partnership with Durham Police, Crimestoppers and the Environment Agency to target those who illegally dump waste.

It also aims to ensure families understand their responsibility to make sure their rubbish – including furniture, household appliances and building materials – is disposed of properly.

 Since the campaign started it has resulted in a 29% decrease in flytipping in the county.

Ian Hoult said: “Stopping flytipping is our main objective and we urge people to get in touch if they suspect someone is operating without the correct paperwork or if they know someone who dumps waste instead of paying to dispose of it properly.

“We’re also reminding businesses, whether it’s a plumbing firm needing to get rid of boilers and baths or a joinery company needing to dispose of old kitchen units, that they must make sure they are registered and that they dispose of waste correctly.”

To report flytipping call 03000 26 1000 or visit www.durham.gov.uk. Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.