It is a criminal offence to dump waste illegally. You could be fined or get a prison sentence for waste crime. It is also an offence to allow fly-tipping to take place.
Sometimes people bring waste in a vehicle and dump this on land or by the road. The vehicle owner can be prosecuted for waste crime. This allows a prosecution when the vehicle is identified, not the driver.
Investigating waste crime
The police and authorised officers of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs can stop, search and seize vehicles used or suspected of being used for illegal waste activities, including fly-tipping.
Your local council provides waste disposal sites and recycling centres where you can safely and legally recycle or dispose of unwanted items.
If you see fly-tipped waste
If you discover fly-tipped waste, do not:
- touch the waste - it may contain syringes, broken glass, asbestos, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances
- disturb the site; there may be evidence that could help identify the fly-tippers and lead to their prosecution
What you should do:
- visually try to work out what the waste consists of and how much there is
- note the day, date and time you saw the tipping, its exact location and whether it is in or near water
If you see someone fly-tipping, you should note:
- how many people are involved and what they look like
- what has been tipped - how much and what it looks like
- details of any vehicles involved including make, colour and registration number if possible
Report waste crime
Dumping or burning waste where it's not allowed, or allowing others to do so, is a criminal offence. To read more about waste crime and how you can report it, go to: