IT’S time to become more creative in the way we deal with fly-tippers and other folk who think it’s okay to knacker our shared spaces.

I mention this after hearing about a bloke who ended up with a £400 fixed penalty from Wiltshire Council after an alert member of the public spotted him dumping carpet and boxes on a grass verge.

He was also ordered to clean up the mess he made, but whether he learned anything from the experience is open to question.

I believe we should lobby our lawmakers for a kinder system which focuses on education rather than punishment, a system which gives offenders more of an insight into how their actions impact the rest of us.

Take that fly-tipper, for example. He was made to clean up his own mess but he still might not understand the impact of dumping it on land belonging to all of us.

A more sensible and progressive approach would surely be for the authorities to wait until the end of a refuse collection day and have the most heavily-laden dustcart head for the offender’s home.

Then - in an entirely supportive way - they might back the wagon to the person’s front door, ring the bell, wait for an answer, crank up the tipper and dump the lot in their hallway.

Later, as the offender stood neck-deep in used nappies, fish heads and the fermenting plate scrapings of about 10,000 meals, I’m pretty sure they’d think: “Hmm, so this is what it feels like when a place I own is filled with random strangers’ garbage. I’d better not go fly-tipping again.”

Obviously there might be some legal issues to iron out - reversing a great big bin wagon over somebody’s front garden, for example, and the question of who is responsible should the home owner get a dose of typhoid or cholera - but I’m sure that wouldn’t take long.

In fact, we might consider a similar approach to other anti-social people, such as the small and unpleasant minority of dog owners who see nothing wrong in allowing their animals to foul our parks and pavements.

When such offenders are caught, I envision the council employing a person with a powerful sucker-upper machine, perhaps involving a backpack or even some sort of trolley, to gather all the messes until their tank is full. Should there not be enough messes to fill the tank, they might make an arrangement with local animal sanctuaries.

The operator of the sucker-upper machine would head for the home of the offender, throw the sucker-upper mechanism into reverse and deliver a new wall covering.

Should neighbours live close enough to object to the fragrance, of course, it would be completely inappropriate and silly to spray the exterior wall.

In such circumstances it would be better - again in a loving, supportive and educational way - to squirt the lot through the letter box, ideally with enough force to reach the ceiling.

While we’re at it, we might also take a creative approach to those people who like to dispose of their chewing gum by gobbing it out on to the pavement, especially in the town centre.

Fining them might help to meet the cost of scraping up the hardened deposits, but a more effective strategy would be to save those deposits in a cardboard box and oblige offenders to choose half a dozen and chew them all up together in a great big lump. The combination of mint and fruit flavours, plus the odd stray fag end, would be a true learning experience.

I know my ideas might seem a little unconventional, but I hope the people who make our laws get to hear about them.

I’d tell them myself, but they keep threatening to have me locked up.