A COUNCILLOR has expressed his shock over the size of a fine dished out to a man caught fly-tipping.

A long serving member of New Forest District Council, Cllr David Harrison, has described the £400 fine as “totally inadequate” after a man was caught dumping in the New Forest.

Four witnesses reported seeing a man tipping waste, including rubble and household rubbish, from a flat-bed van in Burbush car park near Burley on the evening of October 25.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch team passed the details on to New Forest District Council (NFDC), who investigated and identified the vehicle owner.

The offender was tracked down, fined £400 and issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Cllr Harrison said: “It is very rare for somebody to get caught and to be fined but when they do, it’s important that the punishment fits the crime.

“I think that the man should have been fined £1,000 and had his vehicle confiscated,” he added.

“I doubt if the £400 covered the cost of doing this, let alone clearing up the mess he left behind.”

The man admitted the offence before he was due to be interviewed by the council’s enforcement team and the police. He will also be issued with a Section 5 notice for not having a waste carrier’s licence.

Bruce Rothnie, the Forestry Commission’s deputy surveyor for the New Forest, said: “This recent incident is another example of the lack of respect some people have for the Forest, its residents and rare wildlife.

“The scale and cost of removing fly-tips, such as the one at Burbush car park is considerable, but our funds are limited, we would much rather prioritise the Forestry Commission’s local budget on managing the open forest habitats, the woodlands, and the facilities here in the New Forest.”

Fly-tipping is a crime punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates’ Court.

If convicted in a Crown Court, the offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years’ imprisonment.

Councils have the power to issue fixed penalty notices for small-scale fly-tipping.