'Dirty nappies, rotting food and dead rats': Doncaster resident at wits end as fly-tipping crisis has her wanting to leave
The huge amount of rubbish repeatedly dumped on the streets of Hexthorpe is threatening peoples’ health and leaving people ‘anxious about leaving their back gates’, says one resident.
Piles of waste, including dirty nappies, rotting food and dead rats line alleyways behind houses in the village and lifelong residents are looking to leave as the problem persists in spite of regular council clean-ups.
Areas that are reported to be particularly bad include Stone Close Avenue, Abbott Street, Spansyke and Elleker Avenue.
Sue Meehan, 43, has lived in Hexthorpe all her life and has said that the village is ‘unrecognisable’ due to the fly-tipping problem.
“Three generations of my family have lived here and it has never been as bad as it is at the moment,” she said.
“This is not just the usual Christmas clear-out that causes a spike in fly-tipping at this time of year. It has been getting steadily worse for close to a year now.
“There are bags of rubbish piled at the end of lots of streets. The rubbish blocks the alleyways and causes obstacles to people trying to get down them.
“I have found dead rats in my garden. I have seen dirty nappies on the street. There are burst bags with food that is rotting and covered in maggots spilling out. You never know what is out there, it’s just filthy.
“Until you have been forced to live amongst this filth, you cannot possible comprehend the impact.”
Ms Meehan, whose dog recently cut its foot on discarded broken glass, said that concerns about people and animals getting ill are spoiling the lives of Hexthorpe residents.
“It makes you anxious to live here. People are anxious about leaving their back gates because of what is out there,” she explained.
“It is heartbreaking what Hexthorpe has become. It was the best place in the world to grow up. Now I would leave tomorrow if I could afford it. I have started thinking about it even though I would lose money selling my house.
“I can name at least four families that I have known since I went to school with them in Hexthorpe who have left town because of this already and other people are thinking about it.”
Ms Meehan has been appealing to the council to try and ensure more is done to combat the fly-tipping problem.
She says that the council has told her that the tonnage of waste fly-tipped has not increased in Hexthorpe, however cuts to council resources mean that the waste is cleared up less often and so is left to pile up for longer.
Ms Meehan has also called for greater deterrents to try and prevent people from dumping rubbish, which she says must come from houses that back onto the alleyways as there is no way people could drive down them to dump rubbish.
“Every time the council come and clear it up it just gets dumped again. There is no deterrent so people just carry on.
“These back alleys need to be sorted. The council needs to patrol them if they have to.
“The landlords of owners of these filthy houses need to be held to account, and those that cause the mess should be prosecuted or evicted.”
Under current law, fly-tipping can land you a fine of up to £5,000 and up to five years in prison. Last year there were 29 prosecutions for the offence in Doncaster.
Gill Gilles, Assistant Director of Environment for Doncaster County Council, said: “Littering and fly-tipping is abhorrent. Doncaster Council has a zero tolerance stance.
“We are working hard to encourage businesses and residents to take personal responsibility for their environment because, as a council, we already spend close to £400,000 each year collecting and disposing of fly-tipped waste.
“We have three clear messages for residents. Firstly, please dispose of your waste appropriately as fly-tipping is not acceptable.
“Secondly, if you spot fly tipping in the area, please let us know as soon as you can and we will take enforcement action against offenders whenever possible.
“Lastly, it is an offence to pass your waste to anybody who doesn’t have a waste carrier’s licence, there is every chance they will dump it illegally - if you haven’t checked or you’re unsure don’t risk it.”