MORE than a tonne of rubbish has been dumped in the heart of Swindon town centre overnight.
White goods, furniture and other household rubbish made for an unsightly scene for members of the public making their way to work across Wharf Green this morning.
But the heap of waste is not what it first appears.
It is part of a publicity stunt laid on by Swindon Borough Council to highlight the huge cost of clearing up flytipped waste across the town.
The prominent location was chosen as a way to grab the attention of passers-by on their way to work.
The range and size of items is typical of those that council teams are having to clear up on a daily basis.
It will remain in place until 3pm.
The stunt has been organised to raise awareness of the campaign to tackle the epidemic of fly-tipping that is affecting communities up and down the country
It will support the national #CrimeNotToCare campaign co-ordinated by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.
Staff from Swindon Borough Council’s ‘Envirocrime’ team will be on hand to meet visitors throughout the day- they will be handing out leaflets and providing interested members of the public with an insight into the problems occurring around the town.
Each year almost 3,000 cases of fly tipping are reported in Swindon, landing council taxpayers with an annual clean up bill of up to £250,000.
#CrimeNotToCare, being run in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, aims to educate householders about the right thing to do with their rubbish and to reduce the amount of household waste that is fly-tipped by rogue traders who offer to take people’s waste away for money and then dump it.
The campaign hopes to get the message across graphically that if an individual’s waste is fly-tipped, even if they gave it to a third party to dispose of, they can be prosecuted and end up with a fine and a criminal record.
Keith Williams, the cabinet member for StreetSmart, said: "In Swindon alone we collect over three tonnes of fly-tipped rubbish every week costing us a quarter of a million pounds annually to clean up – that’s money we can’t spend on other vital services in the borough.
"I’m delighted that the council is fully backing Keep Britain Tidy for this critically important campaign.
“I would encourage people to come along to Wharf Green and see for themselves the impact of a large fly-tip in a neighbourhood and take the chance to meet our team and find out what they can do to help tackle the problem, which affects all of us.
“The council now has the power to levy fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping and we will have no hesitation in doing so. I would encourage anyone who spots fly-tipping or has suspicions to contact us without delay."