Ashridge fly-tipper fined after being caught red-handed by park visitor
A fly-tipper who was caught on camera dumping furniture and waste on Ashridge Estate has been handed a hefty fine.
John Butler, 42, of Six Acres, Hemel Hempstead, appearing at High Wycombe Magistrates Court via video link, pleaded guilty to fly-tipping and was fined £600 and ordered to pay £500 in costs.
On April 14 this year, Butler used a company vehicle to dump furniture and waste in Ling Park Car Park, Ringshall, on the National Trust's Ashridge Estate.
But he was caught fly-tipping by a member of the public, who took photographs of the incident and reported it to the National Trust rangers.
Following an investigation by Buckingham County Council, Butler was traced via his company vehicle, which was visible in the visitor's photographs.
The company was able to identify Mr Butler as being in charge of the vehicle at the time, and it went on to take disciplinary action against him for the misuse of company property.
Enforcement officers from the council interviewed Butler under caution and he claimed he had only dumped a small box of garden waste at the location, in complete contradiction of the photographic evidence.
Caleb Newton, a National Trust ranger at Ashridge, said: "Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
"Our job is to look after the 5,000 acres of the estate so that nature and wildlife can thrive and visitors can enjoy the beautiful and ancient landscape, but we have to divert considerable resources to clearing and preventing illegal dumping.
"We much appreciate the support of our visitors in keeping an eye out for these criminals, and thanks also to Buckinghamshire County Council for taking cases such as this to court - every successful prosecution is a warning to would-be fly tippers."
A spokesman for the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire said: "The Ashridge Estate is a much-loved beauty spot where many people go to relax and enjoy nature - which makes it even more shocking when it's treated like a waste tip.
"Our thanks go to the member of the public who took the pictures which were key to both the investigation and the prosecution of this case.
"Public vigilance plays an important part in catching fly tippers, though I'd also remind people to ensure they don't put themselves in danger while obtaining evidence."