Man fined for dumping sofa

23 February 2011, 10:49 | Updated: 7 March 2011, 16:28

A moment of 'misjudgement' led a man to illegally dump an unwanted sofa in some woodland after moving house, leaving him with court fines and costs totalling £450.

Michael Harris, aged 39, now living in Ratton Fleming, Barnstaple, Devon pleaded guilty at Aylesbury Magistrates Court on 21 February 2011 to illegally dumping a sofa in woodland off Welsh Lane, Shalstone to the west of Buckingham. 

The court heard that on 19 March 2010 the sofa was spotted in woodland by a local man, who found correspondence within it giving Mr Harris' name and his address at his former Bletchley home. He reported the matter to Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Waste Partnership's enforcement team, who took up the investigation.

When interviewed Mr Harris admitted dumping the sofa.  He said he had taken it from his former residence to his sister’s property in Brackley believing that it would be of use to her.  When it was rejected he had begun the return journey, but had decided in a ‘moment of misjudgement’ to dump the sofa instead of  disposing of it properly.

Magistrates fined him £100 and ordered him to pay costs of £335 plus a victim surcharge of £15, a total of £450.

Bll Lidgate, South Bucks District Council representative and chairman of the Waste Partnership, said: "This is completely irresponsible and unacceptable behaviour. There are a number of recycling centres where the public can dispose of unwanted household items and there can be absolutely no excuse for illegal dumping of this kind. It's pure selfishness.

"Clearing up after flytippers is an expense we can do without. It's money which can be put to much better use than this, particularly in these times of austerity and it's important that fines and costs reflect the costs these offenders inflict on Buckinghamshire's taxpayers. Well done to the member of the public who reported this incident, I hope it inspires others to be as vigilant."