Fly-tippers are dumping rubbish across South Yorkshire more than 80 times per day – leaving taxpayers to foot clean-up bills running into millions of pounds.
In Doncaster, as many as 14 cases a day are being dealt with – and last year the problem cost Doncaster Council more than £325,000.
New figures released by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs have revealed there were more than 29,200 recorded incidents of fly-tipping around the region during 2013-14 – with councils having to pay over £1.5million in clearance costs. The number of incidents in Doncaster during the period totalled 5,309 – up on the 2012-13 figure of 5,168.
But the cost of clearing away the mess was £326,177 – down on the figure for the previous 12 months which stood at £344,085.
However, the cost of investigating fly-tipping rose – from £131,307 in 2012-13 to £150,018 in 2013-14.
There were also more actions against fly-tippers, up to 6,955 from 4,949 although the number of prosecutions fell from 17 to eight.
Thoughtless criminals dumped everything from fridges and electrical appliances to vehicle parts, tyres and even dead animals on roadsides, footpaths and private land.
More than 200 of the dumped loads contained potentially-fatal asbestos.
The overall figures actually represent a slight improvement on 2012-13 – when more than 30,700 incidents were recorded in South Yorkshire, with £1.52m spent on cleaning up.
But the vast majority of fly-tippers in the region are going unpunished.
Defra’s figures showed that while councils spent a collective £235,000 on investigating incidents last year, less than £6,000 worth of fines were handed out.
Only 40 people were prosecuted for fly-tipping last year across South Yorkshire – the same number as in 2012-13.
And in Doncaster, just £800 worth of fines were handed out – down on the 2012-13 figure of £1,120.
However, earlier this year, two men were sentenced after being found illegally dumping thousands of tonnes of waste including asbestos.
Phillip Slingsby, aged 42, of Hadds Lane, Thorne and Robert Spencer, 63, of Oak Farm, Finningley, were both found guilty of tipping waste on an industrial scale. It included wood, vegetation, plastics, and asbestos sheeting and other non-inert waste.