Fly-tipper prosecuted for dumping waste on National Trust beauty spot at Ashridge

The woodland is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 2:04 pm

A man has been prosecuted for three repeat offences of fly-tipping at a local area of natural beauty at Ashridge.

Alex Carl Clewett, 22, of Worthington Road, Dunstable was sentenced at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on Wednesday, July 21, after pleading guilty to the three offences that occurred on the National Trust land at Ashridge.

Dockey Wood is a stretch of forest within the 2,000-hectare Ashridge Estate, owned by the National Trust.

Fly-tipping on the Ashridge Estate (C) Buckinghamshire Council

The woodland, which is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty, is a popular destination all year round but is perhaps most famous for its spectacular carpet of bluebells that emerges every spring and draws visitors from miles around.

Towards the end of 2019 the car park at Dockey Wood began to be blighted by a series of fly-tipping offences.

Officers from Buckinghamshire Council’s Enforcement Team, who investigated the incidents, were able to examine the waste dumped and trace the offences back to Clewett.

Addresses found in the waste indicated that Clewett had been paid by a builder to take bathroom waste from a job in Feltham.

Further evidence gave details of a garage clearance in St Albans where Clewett had been paid to dispose of the items.

In addition to examining the evidence left by Clewett, the enforcement team set up surveillance cameras in the car park overnight on the February 4, 2020.

A truck insured to Clewett was captured on camera dumping waste again.

In interview, Clewett initially denied the offence but pleaded guilty when confronted with the evidence compiled by the enforcement team.

In sentencing the judge ordered Clewett to pay the full £888 clearance costs to the National Trust and a further £500 in costs to Buckinghamshire Council.

Clewett was also sentenced to three consecutive 28-day prison terms, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Peter Strachan, cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: "Fly-tipping is a disgrace wherever it occurs but to target a local spot that is widely known and loved for its natural beauty and wildlife is even more disgraceful.

"We won’t hesitate to investigate any incidence of fly-tipping that happens in Buckinghamshire and all offenders who are caught will be prosecuted."

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: "Our job is to look after the 5,000-acre estate at Ashridge so that nature and wildlife can thrive and visitors can enjoy the beautiful and ancient landscape.

"Sadly, we’re having to divert considerable resources to clearing rubbish, including numerous instances where it has been illegally dumped.

"We appreciate the support of our visitors who help us to look after Ashridge Estate and report any criminal behaviour that they’ve witnessed.

"Thanks also to Buckinghamshire Council for taking cases such as this to court - every successful prosecution is a warning to would-be fly tippers."