Fly-tipping is on the increase in Swindon.

It is illegal and those who do it can face a fine and a criminal conviction and record.

But did you know that as a householder that if someone else dumps your stuff – even without you knowing about it – you could be liable and face prosecution?

Residents have a duty of care to make sure people they might employ, such as house clearance services, skip hirers and ‘man with a van’ type operations, dispose of their waste properly.

If a private business is hired to take away household waste in order to meet that duty of care the householder should check they are an authorised carrier with up-to-date and valid upper-tier registration.

This includes a business which approaches you and offers to take your waste.

Each carrier should have a registration number. An upper-tier registration allows a person or organisation to transport other people’s waste, while lower-tier registrations are primarily for organisations carrying their own waste.

You can check whether a waste carrier is registered on the Environment Agency’s online public register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers using their registration number, business name or postcode or call 03708 506 506.

If you want to take your own waste for disposal you can take it to Swindon Borough Council’s waste and recycling centre – but check that items are accepted.

If you want to take waste to a site run by a private business, you should check it has a permit or exemption.

You can check if a waste site has a permit or exemptions through the Environment Agency’s online public registers for waste operations and waste exemptions using their registration number, business name or postcode or call 03708 506 506.

You are not expected to keep records when you check a carrier or site is registered or exempt. But if your waste is illegally tipped, and it can be traced back to you, it will be investigated. It would be useful to have records showing you me your duty of care:

- Record any checks made, including the operator’s registration, permit or exemption number.

- Keep a receipt for the transaction which includes the business details of a registered operator.

- Ask for a copy or take a photograph of the carrier’s waste registration or site’s permit.

- Record details of the business or of any vehicle used (registration, make, model, colour), which can be linked back to an authorised operator.

A tradesperson working at your house is responsible for any waste they produce – and they must take it away and dispose of it properly. If you add waste to theirs that does not come from the work they’re doing – if you put things in the skip they are using, for example – you do have a duty of care to make sure your waste is disposed of properly.

Swindon Borough Council also runs a bulky items collection service for waste you cant put in your normal bins or recycling boxes or bags and can’t, or don’t want to, take to the tip.

A single collection costs £28.70 and up to three large items, though only one fridge or freezer, can be collected in one go.

The council’s website at has full details.

It is a criminal offence if residents do not take all reasonable measures available to them to meet their duty of care and they could face prosecution and, on conviction, a fine and criminal record. Residents may be given a fixed penalty notice for breaching the duty of care and whilst there is no obligation to pay this, if a resident chooses to do so within the specified period, they cannot be prosecuted for the offence. A resident may also provide evidence to the authority at any time that prosecution is not appropriate, either by demonstrating they met their duty of care, or that prosecution is not proportionate. It is at the authority’s discretion whether to proceed to prosecute.