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Top five favourite spots for fly-tippers: Roadside, Council land such as housing estates, car parks, parks and open spaces, Back alleys, Country paths

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'Swat Team' Carries Out Local Authority Enforcement Training Across The North East

Environmental crime officers from the Environment Agency's 'Swat' team recently held fly-tipping enforcement training for council officers across the North East. The aim was to ensure that consistent and rigorous procedures are being used across the whole region to catch and prosecute fly-tippers.

The Environment Agency's 'Swat' enforcement team of ex-police and military staff carried out tailor-made training over four days. The environmental crime officers shared best practice on a range of enforcement techniques including surveillance, crime scene investigations, evidence gathering and waste legislation.

Kate Halka, the Environment Agency's project manager said: "Our ability to detect environmental crime is improving all the time. In recent months we have introduced forensic capabilities that will enable us to make a greater number of prosecutions against fly-tippers.

"We already work closely with many of the councils across the North East to share intelligence, work on undercover operations and manage clean-up projects within communities. This regional training has really helped us to strengthen our joint enforcement capabilities."

68 council enforcement officers from across the region took part in the training. They included officers from Northumberland County Council, Durham County Council, Stockton Borough Council, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead City Council, Sunderland City Council, Middlesbrough Council, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland, North Tyneside Council and Darlington Borough Council.

Andy Rutherford, head of neighbourhood services for Northumberland County Council said: "It is important for local authorities and the Environment Agency to work together to stamp out flytipping in our region. This training enabled us to share expertise and knowledge, and further empower our officers to carry out detailed investigations that will lead to more prosecutions."

Earlier this month, staff from the Environment Agency took part in an annual training conference for magistrates in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The aim of the presentation was to promote a better understanding of the impact of fly-tipping as a criminal activity.

Kate Halka said: "Our enforcement and education activity in the region means that more flytippers will be facing the courts. It is therefore important that we continue working with the courts, the police and local authorities to make sure that fly-tippers are brought to justice."