The leader of Buckinghamshire Council has pledged to get tougher on fly-tippers as he criticised the lenient sentences handed down by magistrates for the crime.

Martin Tett made the comments during a wide-ranging speech at the Conservative-run council’s annual general meeting last week.

Addressing a packed council chamber in Aylesbury, he said: “Magistrates are just too easy on fly-tippers. It is too easy to say, ‘look I stopped the car, took all those sacks of rubbish out and those old tyres.

“I really intended to put them back in, but I just drove off, forgetting them’. It is nonsense but somehow magistrates, it seems, believe people.”

The council makes around 30 prosecutions a year for fly-tipping and collects around £50,000 in fines annually.

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However, Cllr Tett said he would like to see the council double or triple this figure over the coming years.

Fly-tipping – the illegal dumping of rubbish – is a criminal offence punishable by an unlimited fine or imprisonment.

However, fly-tipper Jagdish Kumar Sharma escaped prison and received a three-month suspended sentence as he pleaded guilty at High Wycombe Magistrates Court in April.

The 81-year-old dumped 16 black sacks of corrugated sheet roofing containing asbestos at Broken Gate Lane, Denham in September.

He was ordered to pay full clean-up costs to local residents, investigation and prosecution costs and a victim surcharge, all totalling £1,653.66.

Cllr Tett claimed fly-tipping was one of residents’ top priorities and that those found guilty would be hit hard by fines.

He said: “Fly-tipping has been a passion of mine going back something like 12, 13 years. It really aggravates our residents.

“People hate seeing the fly-tipping at the side of the road. It can be a sofa, an old fridge, it can be all sorts of things.

“There is no excuse for that behaviour. There is absolutely no excuse and one of the things we have done as a council is very rapidly introduced the higher penalties that we became able to do legally.

“So, this time, if somebody is caught, they will get a substantial fine and there is no discount for early payment. This is now a significant penalty if people caught.”

During his speech, the council leader also discussed litter, saying that it was more difficult to catch this type of offender, although a law change meant people could now be tried through the civil courts.

Cllr Tett also reminded those watching of the £500 fines in place for people throwing litter from vehicles in Buckinghamshire.

In April, Bucks became the first council to ask the public for dashcam footage or legally-recorded mobile phone footage showing people tossing rubbish from car windows.

Cllr Tett revealed that the council was also currently looking at how it could crack down on litter discarded by pedestrians.

He said catching this type of litter lout was ‘tricky’ but added: “I know that is really popular with our residents as well.”

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