DUDLEY Council has spent more than £370,000 clearing up after fly-tippers over the last eight years, an investigation has revealed.

There were 6,737 recorded incidents of fly-tipping in the Dudley borough between 2011-12 and 2018-19, figures compiled by the BBC's Shared Data Unit show, with the number per year having risen by 25 per cent from 745 to 938.

Clearing up after these incidents has cost the council £371,382 over the eight years - and last year alone it spent £29,715 clearing up after 29 major incidents of fly-tipping.

The number of these larger-scale incidents of fly-tipping, where a lorry load or substantial amount of waste has been dumped, also rocked from just six back in 2011-12 to 29 in 2018-19.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley's cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services, said: “Fly-tipping is illegal and people who dump rubbish not only blight our borough but leaves taxpayers footing the bill.

“We do everything we can to catch and prosecute them through CCTV coverage where it is made available to us and targeted work, and we have committed nearly £2 million to improve cameras in the borough.

“But ultimately we rely heavily on people being the eyes and ears of their community.

“There are now more ways than ever before for people to report issues to us including phone, email, social media, our website and the council smartphone app. I would urge people to continue reporting fly-tipping as and when they see it, helping us to catch and prosecute these criminals.”

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment if convicted in a magistrates' court.

The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years’ imprisonment if convicted in a crown court. However, very few of the toughest sentences are handed out.

Other possible penalties for those dumping rubbish include fixed penalty notices and having a vehicle seized.

Since May 2016, local authorities in England have been able to issue fixed penalty notices between £150 to £400 for small-scale fly-tipping offences.

In the Dudley borough - the council issued eight fixed penalty notices in 2018 and seven last year in 2019.