A CHEAP deal to get rid of rubbish has cost a Bridgwater woman more than she bargained for.

Nicola Watson, 34, of Sunnymead, Bridgwater, was ordered by magistrates this week to pay a total of £188 after her waste was fly-tipped by men paid £40 to take it away.

Watson, who was fined £73 with a £20 victim surcharge and £95 costs, admitted to magistrates in Taunton on May 12 that she failed to take reasonable measures to ensure the transfer of household waste to an authorised person.

A statement from prosecutors Sedgemoor District Council said that following neighbours’ complaints about rubbish, Watson paid the men to take away waste that was later fly-tipped in a ditch between Rhode Lane and Dancing Hill in Bridgwater.

Prosecuting for Sedgemoor District Council, solicitor Nigel Osborne said: “She paid three men £40 to dispose of the material for her.

“They took half the refuse and stated that they would return for the remainder, but never did.

“Fly-tipping is a serious offence. Its blight is not only visual, but can often have serious health and safety implications, and the costs of dealing with it are substantial.”

The council statement also said that Watson had said she was not aware of the law and was guilty of not checking that the men in question they were ‘the right people’.

The case was the first in Somerset in which magistrates consulted new guidelines on sentencing for environmental crimes that will be formally introduced in July.

The prosecution was brought as part of renewed efforts by the council and other authorities to clamp down on fly-tippers through new equipment, warning signs, newspaper adverts and further training for enforcement officers, backed by Somerset County Council.

A Somerset Waste Partnership spokesman said: “This case emphasises that residents should check that any trader taking their waste away has the right licence and that any member of the public needs to be vigilant.

“Everyone has a duty of care to ensure that their waste is properly handled by licensed traders and sent to a place that can legally take the materials.”

Details of recycling sites can be found on the SWP website at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/ sites opening or by calling Somerset Direct on 0845-3459188.

For more information on fighting fly-tipping visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk