Doncaster Council has revealed the huge sum it spends clearing fly-tipped waste each year.
The council received a whopping 12,537 reports of dumped rubbish between April 2018 and March this year, which works out at nearly 35 each day.
It says it spends nearly £400,000 each year clearing and disposing of rubbish which has been illegally dumped.
The figures emerged following a complaint about the time taken to clear a mountain of waste dumped outside homes in Bentley, which was subsequently set alight, damaging the rear gate and fence of one property.
A householder on Hunt Lane, who asked to remain anonymous, said the waste was not fully removed until after it went up in flames, despite repeated calls to the council warning it was a fire hazard.
The council, however, claims the junk was cleared within its seven-day target period, only for additional waste to be tipped and set alight.
A woman living in the property which was damaged in the blaze said a huge pile of rubbish – including old sofas and mattresses – had been dumped outside her back gate on March 20.
She claimed the council sent someone that day with a van but he was only able to remove a fraction of the waste.
She told how and her partner then called five times over the next 12 days to ask for the remainder to be cleared, highlighting to council staff that arson was rife in the area and the rubbish was a fire hazard, yet nobody turned up.
She was at home with her seriously ill son when the rubbish was set alight on the evening of Monday, April 1, and said the flames were at least six feet high and the fire service told her to get out of the house for her own safety.
“The council didn’t seem to care until the rubbish was set alight, despite us warning them that would happen, which is disgusting,” she said.
“Had it happened a few hours later when people were asleep the fire might have spread to our homes and someone could have died.”
The council claimed it had sent people twice to clear the waste, both times within its seven-day target, and after the fire had removed the burned debris quickly and safely.
Councillor Chris McGuinness, cabinet member for communities, voluntary sector and the environment, said: “We successfully removed a large quantity of waste from the property and surrounding area as a course of urgent action and were well within the seven-day target time we set ourselves to clear such a site.
“Our operative was present for around 100 minutes as part of our out of hours cleansing service to ensure highways safety and left safe a small amount of remaining waste to be picked up at a later date.
“We later returned to the property to remove the remains of any fly tipping, again within the seven-day target time and, at this point, no follow up was deemed necessary. It is regrettable that vandals then took it upon themselves to set fire to more fly tipped waste adjacent to the property a few days later and we ensured that the burned debris was removed quickly and safely.
“As a council, from the period April 2018 - March 2019, we received 12,537 dumped rubbish reports and we spend close to £400,000 each year collecting and disposing of fly tipped waste. Consequently, we have a robust process in place, investigating all reports of fly tipping and we will take enforcement action against offenders whenever possible.”
South Yorkshire Police confirmed the fire was reported on April 2 and it was being investigated as suspected arson.
Anyone who sees fly-tipping is asked to report it to Doncaster Council by calling 01302 736 000 or visiting www.doncaster.gov.uk/doitonline/dumped-rubbish-fly-tipping.