A TENANT who paid other people to get rid of his household waste, only to find they had illegally dumped it, has been fined.

Wayne Clapp, 33, paid two men £30 to take away rubbish from his garage, but it was fly-tipped, landing him with a £170 bill.

Taunton Magistrates’ Court was told this week that Clapp was required by his landlord to clear the garage, but could not do the work because he had trapped nerves in his hands and his partner, Jessica Gill, was pregnant.

He said he did not know at the time that he should check that the two men were legally authorised to carry waste.

Pleading guilty to the offence under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act, Clapp, of Catalan Way, North Petherton, said: “I neglected to get any proof from them to prove they’d taken it to the tip.”

Examining the waste led council enforcement officers to Clapp, but he could not identify the pair who took his waste.

Prosecutor Nigel Osborne said: “Fly-tipping is a serious offence. Its blight is not only visual, but can often have serious health and safety implications, and the costs of dealing with it are substantial.”

The case is the latest example of co-ordinated action by Taunton Deane Council and West Somerset Council, with other authorities, which is helping to drive down figures for illegal dumping.

In November, Yvonne Rutherford, of Lisieux Way, Taunton, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £397 for dumping rubbish in Bower Lane, Bridgwater, and last month Leon Stevens, 38, of St John’s Road, Frome, was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 costs for fly-tipping in East Woodlands.

Taunton Deane and West Somerset’s fly-tipping figures fell by 42 to 646 and 71 to 93 respectively between 2011-12 and 2012-13 in a countywide drop of 497 (8.7%) from 5,687 to 5,190, with incidents continuing to fall in this financial year.

A Somerset Waste Partnership spokesman said: “Everyone has a duty of care to ensure that their waste is properly handled by lic-ensed traders and sent to a place that can legally take the materials.

“As all councils in Somerset work together to drive down fly-tipping, and deter, catch and convict fly-tippers, this case emphasises that residents should check that any trader taking their waste away has the right licence and that any member of the public needs to be vigilant.”