BAD advice at a Swindon recycling centre has landed Daniel Sokolowski with a bill of £1,300 after he was caught fly-tipping soil at a major leisure centre.

Sokolowski, 38, a Polish engineer, of Priory Road in Park South, was spotted by management at Oasis Leisure Centre tipping a soil load into the centre’s overflow car park on March 29.

Once he was tracked down by Swindon Borough Council, he co-operated fully with the investigation and owned up from the start, with special praise from the council for his remorse and assistance.

Sokolowski, who said soil tipping was permitted anywhere in Poland, put the illegal tipping down to advice he was given at the Household Waste Recycling Centre in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate on the same day.

Magistrates sitting at Swindon Magistrates' Court yesterday handed him a fine of £140, with a £20 victim surcharge, but council costs hit Sokolowski hardest.

Peter Wirth, prosecuting for the council, requested £786 for the environmental health team’s investigation and £360 in legal costs.

Sokolowski had already filled two skips with eight cubic metres of soil, taken from his garden as part of a paving block project, when he was seen at the Oasis.

“He took the load to the recycling centre in Cheney Manor, where he was told to remove the soil from the load by hand,” said Mr Wirth.

“This would have taken a long time, it was close to closing time in the late afternoon.

“This man told him he could leave the soil opposite the Oasis, where there were some people working and leaving waste anyway.”

Based on this man’s advice and his own knowledge of Polish law, Sokolowski travelled to the leisure centre and lifted the barrier which blocked the entrance to the overflow car park.

He was challenged by the management there at 5.30pm as he tipped the soil, but continued nonetheless.

A photograph was taken of the Isuzu tipper truck, which belonged to Greenmeadow Commercial Services, he was driving and passed on to the local authority.

John Rylance, an employee of Greenmeadow, was listed as the user of the vehicle at the time, but after interviewing Mr Rylance, it became clear he had lent it to Sokolowski, his neighbour.

Sokolowski was interviewed on June 9. He apologised and explained why he felt he could tip the soil.

“He said he can leave rubbish anywhere in his country, and this was only soil,” said Mr Wirth.

“He said he was really sorry for this and had received bad advice about where to leave the soil.

“The defendant has been commended by the investigating officer for being very co-operative and very honest about his involvement.”