A VAN driver who illegally dumped waste at a nature reserve has been fined £810.

Florin Marcel Lacatusu, 33, left panelling, flooring and insulation from a caravan by a road near Waterrow, and it was later thrown down a bank near a stream in Hurstone Nature Reserve, Taunton Deane Magistrates were told.

The Romanian, of Rockwell Green, admitted the offence and was fined £600 for fly-tipping with £150 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Commenting on the case, Cllr James Hunt, Taunton Deane’s environmental services portfolio holder, said: “We live in a beautiful part of the country and we want to keep it that way.

“Let anyone who may be thinking of fly-tipping be in no doubt of the council's determination to gather evidence and prosecute cases of this environmental crime.

“Fines can be hefty, so the message is simple – don’t do it.”

Figures for fly-tipping in Somerset fell by 8.7% from 5,687 to 5,190 between 2011-12 and 2012-13, and continued to fall in 2013-14.

A Somerset Waste Partnership spokesman said: “There’s no excuse for fly-tipping, which is a serious environmental crime.

“All councils in Somerset are working together to drive down fly-tipping, and deter, catch and convict fly-tippers.”

For more information, see www.somersetwaste.gov.uk