Published: 06:00, 07 July 2021
| Updated: 09:17, 08 July 2021
Fly-tippers have been caught in the act after farmers and a resident took matters into their own hands to catch the louts.
Fly-tippers caught in the act on Blue Bell Hill
Farmer Steve Jones blocked in the perpetrators with a car and was joined by his sons Trevor and Jos in their tractor and rough-terrain forklift after getting fed up with repeated incidents of rubbish being dumped on his land in Harvel.
Mr Jones, 65, explained: “We wouldn’t go a month without fly-tipping generally.
“It ranges from people clearing out their shed to people who are doing it serially.
“It’s quite regular, but this lot were coming every day, which was a bit silly of them because it made them easy to catch.
“We knew roughly what sort of time they were coming, so I got there about 9.45am.
“They turned up and we saw them go past. They were incredibly quick. By the time I got the car down there, they were on their way out.
“I got on the walkie talkie, and the boys and some of the staff turned up.
“I didn’t close the gates, I just parked the car across the gateway so they couldn’t get out. They weren’t best pleased.
“One of them just walked straight off, he wasn’t hanging around.
Fed up with the repeated dumps a nearby resident sets off in pursuit
“The other one remonstrated with me. He told me to get out of the way, and then he got on his phone to get some other people. Then he said ‘I’m just going to smash out past you’.
“I said ‘that’s why I bought a £200 car’. He went up the bank but lost traction on his wheels and couldn’t move. My two boys were coming with tractors, so we boxed him in so he couldn’t get out.”
The driver of the vehicle then left the scene, leaving behind the tipper van, which was later seized by police.
Meanwhile, a resident caught another fly-tipper in action at a known hotspot in woods near his home in Hill Road, Blue Bell Hill.
After his daughter noticed a truck loaded with rubbish passing down the road last Thursday afternoon, Common Road resident Colin – who we have agreed only to use his first name – pursued after the vehicle with his wife in their Land Rover.
Colin said: "It was a white Ford Transit Tipper with a high cage on the back loaded with rubbish.
"They had stopped a mile down the lane after it becomes Hill Road and backed up into a hedge ready to tip.
"We pulled alongside and exchanged words with them."
He said: "In it were a man and a woman. The man was stocky with a round face and short hair. The woman had short dark hair and a nose-piercing. She was driving.
"I said to them, you'd better not be planning to tip that because we've got your number and your vehicle on film and we will report you.
"They denied that was what they were doing. They said they were looking for a farm."
Colin said: "We drove on and waited for them at the end of Hill Road. We wanted to see which way they were going to go, but they never came out. After a while we drove back towards Blue Bell Hill.
"They had turned round and stopped in the middle of Hill Road and were tipping the load.
"The man was actually outside the vehicle because one of the doors on the cage on the back had fallen off."
When they saw Colin approaching, the offenders drove off, with the cage doors flapping open and one still lying in the road.
Colin and his wife pursued but lost track of them.
They later discovered from a neighbour who owns a livery yard, that the fly-tippers had pulled into her premises and hidden the vehicle behind a building.
He called 999 and gave police the vehicle's registration number and later discovered the vehicle had already been seen in the area earlier that day.
"We residents are all totally fed up with the fly-tipping. There's often six or seven dumps of rubbish down the road at any time.
"I'd like to see them all locked up."
"At the moment we have a shop dumping all their cardboard boxes, there's a pile of household rubbish and another with sacks of roof slates.
"Thursday's tipper left behind building rubble and a grubbed-up hedge.
"There's a viewpoint to Wouldham Common down here and it would be really quite nice if it weren't for these people.
"I'd like to see them all locked up."
Gravesham council is investigating the fly-tipping at Mr Jones' farm.
He praised both the council and police for their swift action and said he hoped the perpetrators could be brought to justice.
He added. “I’m glad we didn’t get too carried away. I was really nice to them actually. I said ‘you know you’re not supposed to be doing this. Pick it back up and take it away’. They said ‘no we’re coming out’.
“In the past they’ve cut the chain and then put it back together to make it look like it’s still padlocked.
“They tipped around the corner as well, so we didn’t notice at first. It was only because a fellow who walks his dog told us about it.”
Police confirmed they were called at 10.46am on Friday to a report of a dispute in Harvel Road, Vigo.
“In the past they’ve cut the chain and then put it back together to make it look like it’s still padlocked..."
A statement added: “The dispute involved a land owner and two men who are alleged to have fly-tipped on the land.
“During the dispute, one of the alleged fly-tippers attempted to harm the land owner before they left the scene on foot.
“Officers attended and seized a vehicle, which had been driven to the scene by the man who made the threats. Inquiries into the threatening behaviour are ongoing.”
Gravesham council confirmed environmental enforcement officers attended with police on Friday, and the an investigation was in its early stages.