West Lindsey: Council launches campaign on environmental crimes

Newly trained Keith Robinson alongside community officer Tim Fenton, offering advice to a dog owner on how to avoid a fixed penalty fine.
Newly trained Keith Robinson alongside community officer Tim Fenton, offering advice to a dog owner on how to avoid a fixed penalty fine.

West Lindsey District is launching a campaign to highlight environmental crimes to residents and visitors.

The council’s community action officers and councillors will take part in patrols, visit schools and encourage people to report incidents during the five-week campaign.

The authority will be focusing on different environmental crimes each week, such as dog fouling and fly-tipping, and urging culprits, encourage responsible citizenship and clean up local neighbourhoods.

The campaign follows a recent crackdown that has seen fixed penalty notices issued for littering and dog fouling in Gainsborough and Saxilby – thanks to information from residents.

Coun Alan Caine is championing the campaign as the council’s lead member for community safety.

He said: “We’re aiming to raise the profile of enviro-crime, making people aware of the scale of the problem, the potential effects, the penalties for culprits, and more importantly how to do something about it by reporting the issue.”

“We’re sending a clear message that these anti-social acts will not be tolerated in West Lindsey. The more people are aware that common complaints such as littering and dog fouling are not just irresponsible, but serious offences, hopefully the more people will realise that we can do something about it.”

The council adopted its first Fixed Penalty Enforcement Strategy in July to enable it to use a more consistent approach to issuing fixed penalties. Trained officers can issue notices for 11 offences.

Community action officer Kate Hearn added: “Further to this, for the first time, non council officers have been trained and authorised to issue fixed penalties on our behalf. Wardens in Saxilby, Keelby and Caistor can issue fixed penalties for five offences including littering and dog fouling, which are the two most common complaints.”

A fixed penalty the council is able to issue is a £200 penalty for abandoning a vehicle.

Ms Hearn said: “Abandoned vehicles cause a nuisance on roads and public land and can attract vandalism and other problems.”

“Where abandoned vehicles are reported, we will attempt to track down the owner of the vehicle before asking for it to be removed.”

If the vehicle is not removed, and the registered keeper cannot prove they have responsibly and lawfully disposed of or sold the vehicle, they will be considered liable for the offence and offered the opportunity to accept a £200 fixed penalty or face prosecution.

People are reminded they can report any environmental crime by calling 01427 676676 or via the report it facility on the council’s website www.west-lindsey.gov.uk.