Travellers fined £2,300 for dumping 40 tonnes of waste on Tooting Common
Three men from the travelling community who dumped more than 40 tonnes of waste on Tooting Common last September have been fined just £2,325.
Patrick and Frances Corcoran, both from Wellinborough, in Northamptonshire and Lionel Brown from West Drayton, Middlesex, were ordered to pay £775 each at South-Western Magistrates' court last week.
On September 17 last year, 19 caravans and cars dumped piles of waste including timber, rubble and mattresses near Bedford Woods.
Furious residents contacted the Wandsworth Guardian demanding those responsible for the mass flytipping be held to account.
Speaking after the court hearing, the same residents said they were happy the travellers were prosecuted but "deeply disappointed" with the size of the fine.
Dan Jarvis, from Streatham, said: "This works out at £50 per tonne of waste dumped. I wonder how much it costs to get someone to take away a tonne of waste? Probably no more than that."
While Tooting resident Michael Turner said: "I don't see how fining people the same amount they would have had to pay anyway is going to stop people doing it in future?"
Neither the Friends of Tooting Common nor Wandsworth Council, who brought the prosecution to court, have been able to confirm how much the clean up effort cost, however, reports at the time suggested this was likely to have been met by the taxpayer.
The Friends said: "We are pleased that Wandsworth Council have successfully prosecuted three of the people suspected of dumping rubbish on Tooting Common last year.
"We're encouraged that the council take environmental crime very seriously, and we hope that the action they've taken means that flytippers are dissuaded from ruining our green spaces."
If they do not pay the fines, their names and the details of their vehicles are likely to be placed on the police national computer, meaning they could face immediate arrest and a spell in custody if they are stopped and questioned by any police force in the country.
Councillor Jonathan Cook, who at the time described the flytipping as "beyond the pale", said: "Although we were not able to prosecute them for the flytipping itself, we have certainly hit them in the pocket and we hope this will deter people from dumping waste on Tooting Common or anywhere else in the borough in future."
Anyone with information about cowboy operators dumping rubbish should telephone 020 8871 6396.
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