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Your rubbish, your responsibility - Don't risk a big fine

Did you know that your rubbish remains your responsibility even if you have employed someone to take it away for you?

If the man with a van you have paid to take your rubbish away dumps it in a field, on a roadside verge, down a lonely lane or anywhere that's not appropriate you will still be liable. And that liability, when things go wrong, could cost you up to £50,000! Fly tipping is seen as a serious offence.

The following recently happened in the Boston borough area...

A professional lady with a load of household rubbish to dispose of - not quite a skip full - engaged in good faith a "man with a van" via Facebook's Boston's Buy It, Sell It, Swap It site to take her waste away.

He duly arrived, with his van, quoting an ultra-cheap price. So cheap, in fact, that the good lady said she felt she ought to pay more. The rubbish was loaded into the van and off it went - never to be seen by her again. Or so she thought.

A few days later an angry farmer was knocking at her door, waving in her face an item of the rubbish which had evidence leading him back to her. The rubbish had not been properly disposed of, but dumped on his land.

"I was mortified," said the lady. "I thought I had done the right thing. The man who took my rubbish away seemed reliable. He was nice and said he was just setting his new business up which was why he was charging so little to get the business off the ground. I would never knowingly drop litter or fly tip, so this came as a complete shock to me. I felt awful about it."

The landowner threatened to go to the police unless the mess was cleared away. She was able to contact the van man via Facebook, who said a third party had disposed of the rubbish and he was as shocked as she was to hear how it had been done. He said he would get it put right.

How to do it right...

Boston Borough Council will take away from the kerbside for free your normal household rubbish which cannot be recycled (green wheelie bin), recycled items (blue wheelie bin) and garden waste (brown bin, if you have one. If you want one it's £25 and then the collections are free. To order one go to www.boston.gov.uk/brownbin).

Most other items off waste can be disposed of, for free, at the household waste recycling centre (the tip) at Slippery Gowt, if you have transport.

Bulky items - an old three-piece suite, fridge freezer) will be collected from your address by the borough council for a small charge - go to www.boston.gov.uk/bulky.

If you need to contract someone to take your rubbish away you need to check they are properly authorised - ask to see their   waste carriers' licence.

Waste carriers have to be licensed by the Environment Agency. To check if someone is a registered waste carrier, people should ask for their waste carrier number. Contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 and ask for a waste carrier validation check.

If a contractor is not registered, their services should be refused and a request made that they seek advice from the Environment Agency.

Maximum penalties for fly tipping are a £50,000 fine and five years' imprisonment.