Published: 12:45, 06 December 2019
| Updated: 15:59, 06 December 2019
Three women who left rubbish and furniture to rot in Kent's streets have been fined a collective total of £4,687.
The hefty penalties are the result of three separate prosecutions by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC).
Samantha Beazley, from Folkestone, discarded black sacks and other waste in two locations less than 100 metres from her Darby Road home.
Items dumped included a small suitcase, cigarette packet, cereal box, a TV remote, and other household rubbish.
An investigation was launched by the council into the incidents, which occurred in February, September, and December 2018, after concerns were raised by two members of the public.
Eight letters and notices were issued to Ms Beazley offering her an opportunity to provide a defence. They all went unnoticed.
As a result, FHDC took the case to court.
Ms Beazley denied any involvement in the fly-tipping at a preliminary hearing in May this year.
She did not attend the full Folkestone Magistrates' Court hearing, but was prosecuted by FHDC under the Environment Protection Act 1990 in her absence and fined £300 for each offence.
She was also ordered to pay £760 costs and a £30 victim surcharge - bringing the total bill for her actions to £1,690.
A FHDC spokesman said: "This type of inconsiderate behaviour creates health and safety issues, and spoils our beautiful district for everyone.
"Fly-tipping is a criminal offence. In this case, the resident continued to offend even after we had written to her about the first incident.
"If you find dumped waste on public property, please report it to us - we’ll arrange for it to be picked up and try to prosecute those responsible."
In a second incident, Tara James allowed her property in Baldwin Terrace, Folkestone, to become a dumping ground for broken furniture and other rubbish between March and May this year, much to the frustration of others living in the area.
Again, council officers stepped in and issued a Community Protection Warning on March 22, which gave Ms James 14 days to tidy up the mess.
But when this demand was ignored, she was presented with a Community Protection Notice (CPN) - giving her a further three weeks to remove the rubbish or run the risk of facing legal action.
But the discarded furniture and rubbish remained in place, despite the council offering a two week grace period after the CPN expired.
In the end it was removed by the authority's own cleaning contractors.
Ms James failed to attend a Canterbury Magistrates’ Court hearing on November 26, but was prosecuted in her absence.
She was fined £750 and ordered to pay costs of £492 and a £75 victim surcharge - a total bill of £1,317.
A FHDC spokesman said: "We have a beautiful district and will not allow thoughtless people to spoil it for the majority of those who care greatly for our environment.
"The fine wouldn’t have been as significant had an early guilty plea been entered.
"In fact, there would have been no financial punishment had Ms James tidied up the waste or not left it there in the first place."
On the same day, resident Veronica Cooper was fined £1,500 for failing to respond to a notice requiring her to provide information relating to a fly-tipping incident at woodland, The Warren.
Officers had reason to think she may have been involved, and wrote to her on three separate occasions asking for her account or a reasonable excuse.
She failed to respond each time.
Ms Cooper, of Darby Place, Folkestone was found guilty by magistrates in her absence. She was also ordered to pay costs of £180.
These are just the latest examples of FHDC's tough stance on those falling foul of the law.
And then in September, the owners of former Two Bells Inn, in Canterbury Road, Folkestone, were ordered to pay nearly £2,000 after the rear garden of the pub filled with rubbish.
To report issues in the district including fly-tipping visit here
More by this authorSam Williams