A notorious fly-tipper who made national news when he dumped three tonnes of building waste as he drove along a Croydon street has today (25 January) been jailed for a year.
George Smith’s appalling environmental crimes hit the headlines when he was captured on film tipping rubble, wood and other building waste along Croham Manor Close off Croham Road on 15 March 2016 (watch here).
Appearing at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court, Smith, of Crowley Crescent in Waddon, was sentenced to a total of 52 weeks in prison for this and three other fly-tipping offences in Croydon.
The case is the council’s 127th successful prosecution under its Don’t Mess with Croydon – Take Pride campaign, which combines enforcement with encouraging more than 300 locals to lead community litter picks and educating people about recycling.
Smith is the second person to be sent to prison for fly-tipping-related offences since the council launched the Don’t Mess campaign in 2015.
He was sentenced to 26 weeks’ imprisonment for the Croham Manor Close offence and two others in South Croydon, plus 26 weeks for fly-tipping in Thornton Heath, to be served consecutively. Two vans, worth £1,500 and £2,000, “used to facilitate criminal behaviour” have been confiscated.
Smith was found guilty of the four Croydon fly-tipping offences, carried out between 12 February and 11 April 2016, at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on 4 January.
The 40-year-old pleaded not guilty to the fly-tipping charges, claiming the waste had been dumped by someone else using duplicate number plates on both the Ford Transits.
He admitted one count of operating without a trade waste licence and was found guilty of failing to respond to a notice under section 108 of the Environment Act.
During the trial, District Judge Karen Hammond allowed a bad-character application from the council, which included Smith’s previous conviction in October 2016 for fly-tipping in Tandridge on 12 April the same year.
Smith, who represented himself in court, said that he had not been allowed by the Environment Agency to hold a waste-carrying licence for more than 10 years.
Sentencing Smith, District Judge Hammond described his actions as “wanton vandalism” and said: “This is your third set of convictions for offences of this nature. My hope is to deter this type of offending by imposing this custodial sentence.
“This was your business model – to collect waste and dump it without cost to yourself. I’m satisfied that you made a significant income by fly-tipping, enriching yourself to the detriment of households and the community. This type of offending causes significant harm and I’m sure there would have been substantial costs in clearing this volume of waste.”
Councillor Stuart Collins, deputy leader – Clean Green Croydon
“George Smith is a notorious fly-tipper who has repeatedly flouted the law and dumped rubbish and building waste in our streets and public spaces, with total disregard for the people who live here.
“I hope this jail sentence serves as a warning to him and to other would-be enviro-criminals that we will simply not tolerate this behaviour and will not hesitate to exercise our powers to ensure they are brought to justice in court.
“Our Don’t Mess with Croydon campaign has highlighted the huge amount of pride the vast majority of our residents take in our borough and I know that many of them will join me in welcoming today’s verdict.”