A covert CCTV camera which caught men dumping a duvet and a refuse sack at a Rugby recycling centre has landed a businessman with a legal bill of more than £12,000.
The camera at Ashlawn Road recycling centre was installed by Rugby Borough Council’s environmental protection team to combat fly-tipping.
And on April 17 2013 a white van belonging to Centrepoints International Associates was filmed pulling into the site before the driver and passenger got out and started to unload it.
The recycling centre had two textile recycling bins - one operating on behalf of the council and another, placed without permission, collecting textiles for the charity, Caring for Children in the Gambia.
The driver of the van was filmed dumping a black refuse sack next to the council’s textile bin before shoving a duvet into it - despite a sign on the bin stating ‘Please no duvets.’
The duvet blocked the bin, stopping others from using it.
After checking the CCTV footage, environmental protection officers traced the owner of the van - Harinder Rhoad, of Dudding Road, Wolverhampton.
An investigation revealed Mr Rhoad owned Centrepoints International Associates, a company based at the Saturn Centre, in Ettingshall, Wolverhampton, which was involved in recycling textiles.
Rhoad had connections with a number of other businesses based at the Saturn Centre - which was also the registered address of Caring for Children in the Gambia.
When contacted by environmental protection officers, Rhoad initially denied any involvement and refused to be interviewed in connection with the investigation.
He went on to ignore a notice which legally obliged him to co-operate with the investigation, before finally attending an interview with officers.
During the interview Rhoad repeatedly answered questions with “no comment” before walking out.
At Leamington Magistrates Court, the 45-year-old pleaded not guilty to four charges: fly-tipping, failing to hold waste transfer notes, failing to produce waste transfer notes and failing to comply with a section 108 notice to provide information relating to the investigation.
The court heard Rhoad operated between 500 and 1,000 textile recycling bins across the country and had run a recycling business for a number of years.
Rhoad’s defence hinged on the argument the duvet and the textiles in the refuse sack were not waste - as he claimed the textiles could be recycled without sorting or processing.
But during a three-day hearing the council called witnesses to prove up to 25 per cent of textiles placed in recycling bins were waste - either not recyclable or requiring processing.
During the hearing Rhoad also claimed he spent time searching for a suitable charity to support before choosing Caring for Children in the Gambia.
However the council’s investigation discovered the charity had been struck off by the Charity Commission in 2013 - but Rhoad went on to produce a new promotional leaflet for his business - referring to its work for Caring for Children in the Gambia - a year later.
Rhoad was found guilty of all four charges by magistrates on Thursday January 29.
He was fined £1,500 for fly-tipping, £700 for the waste transfer notes offences and £200 for failing to comply with the section 108 notice.
Rhoad was also ordered to pay the council’s costs in full - a total of £9,860.
Speaking after the case, Cllr Sally Bragg, responsible for sustainable environment at Rugby Borough Council, said: “This successful prosecution was the result of the hard work and perseverance of the council’s environmental protection team.
“It proved an extremely complex investigation, during which Mr Rhoad remained steadfast in his determination to ignore his responsibilities to both the law and the environment.
“The council operates a zero-tolerance policy on fly-tipping. It costs taxpayers thousands of pounds a year, damages our environment and impacts on legitimate waste disposal businesses.
“We investigate all incidents of fly-tipping and have no hesitation in taking offenders to court when we find sufficient evidence.”
Residents can report fly-tipping via the council’s mobile phone app - www.rugby.gov.uk/app
Fly-tipping can also be reported by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the environmental protection team on (01788) 533857.