Published: 00:01, 07 October 2018
Bags of tarmac left on a Romney Marsh road in a suspected fly-tip have turned out to be used for road repairs.
Reports surfaced last week that several large carriers of rubble had been abandoned next to the sea wall on Coast Road in St Mary's Bay, including white sacks and black holdalls.
But following an inspection by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) environment enforcement officers, it appeared that a series of potholes was mysteriously fixed with the materials.
Despite this false fly-tipping alarm, the council have emphasised the impact it can have on landscapes like the Marsh.
Cllr Stuart Peall, cabinet member for the environment said: "We are fed up with a small number of people who are too lazy to do what everyone else does as a matter of course - take their rubbish to the tip.
"We live in a beautiful part of the world, with lots of lovely country lanes and accessible beauty spots, but these can become a haven for criminals to dump waste and run away.
"While we do everything that we can to catch these people, we also rely on the public to help us."
Darran Anthony, 41, spotted the suspected rubbish initially last week: "I saw it had been used to fill holes, which is great.
"But I see fly-tipped rubbish all over the countryside. It does upset me because we live in a beautiful part of the world and I hate seeing it used as a dumping ground.
"My family and I regularly pick up rubbish along our route when we go for family walks... Every little helps right?"
Cllr Peall outlined a series of requests to residents: "Use the local tip. If you can’t, ask a friend to help or use our services.
"If you’re clearing your house or garden or need to shift lots of stuff, use a fully licensed waste carrier. It is your responsibility to check and keep a copy of a waste licence.
"Regulated waste carriers will be more than happy to share this with you. Illegal fly-by-night types will not be so forthcoming.
"If your waste is found dumped by someone else, it is still your responsibility and you could face a fine.
"If you see someone dumping rubbish in our beautiful district, report it with evidence such as photos, car license numbers, company names on the side of a van.
"All this helps us track down the culprits. We have several successful cases over the last few months thanks to people giving us the information we need."
The news comes just weeks after Kent County Council (KCC) proposed to bring in charges at tips for non-household waste.
The protests centre on potential 'cowboy builders' using the countryside to dispose of rubbish, rather than face the proposed levy, which could cost between £4 and £6 a bag.
But Cllr Peall noted an increase in visits from 'tip tourists' to Kent after surrounding authorities introduced their own fees and is concerned it may lead to more fly-tipping if agreed.
FHDC have been cracking down on offenders in 2018, who could face either an immediate £300 penalty or a fine of up to £50,000.
They could also received a criminal record and up to 12 months in prison and if the case is taken to court.
Back in June, a Lydd homeowner was ordered to stump up nearly £2,500 after being found guilty of dumping rubbish near a children’s play area.
Julie Williams, of Herons Park, Lydd, ignored requests from FHDC to clear the mess at a house in Sunnyside, where she was the registered owner.
More real flytipped waste thought to be from the beach also appeared on Dengemarsh Road in Lydd this week.
To report incidents of flytipping in the Folkestone and Hythe district, visit the council website.