Flytippers in Swindon are not being prosecuted – and it means the rate of illegal dumping is going up, say Labour councillors.

The Conservative-run council says it is stepping up its investigations into the activity and trying to change behaviour.

A post on the Swindon Labour councillors' Facebook page said: “There has not been a single prosecution for flytipping in Swindon since 2016.

“This is a staggering figure when it has been apparent to residents across the town that the issue is getting worse as more and more areas are blighted by flytipping.

"Last year, according to a Freedom of Information request, there were 1,504 flytipping incidents reported in Swindon, yet only 522 of them were investigated and shockingly, none of these investigations led to prosecutions."

Labour group leader Jim Grant said: “I’m shocked that the Conservative administration hasn’t managed to prosecute a single flytipper in the last five years. It beggars belief that they can’t muster up the evidence for a single prosecution.

“Other councils are routinely prosecuting those responsible.

"I’m also outraged that on over 500 occasions, the council investigated the flytipping but took no further action.

"How much taxpayers’ money was wasted on investigations that led nowhere?

"Swindon deserves better than seeing flytipping increasing all over town and the council wasting money whilst doing nothing to stop it.”

Coun Grant referred to an Adver article from March 2019 which quoted cabinet member for highways and the environment Maureen Penny, as saying: “The message to flytippers is: we are after you. And we are after you in a big way.”

From 2012-13 to 2019-20 Swindon saw 12,396 incidents of flytipping and although this peaked in 2014-15. The number of incidents in 2019-20 stood at 1,504, which was up about five per cent on the previous year.

Although Coun Penny did not respond directly to a request for comment, a Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “During 2020 we investigated 795 cases and issued numerous verbal warnings as this is initially our first approach. We issued 363 warning letters, most of which were hand delivered.

“Since 2016 our approach has been to warn residents found flytipping and give them the opportunity to remove the waste. If this does not happen we would take additional actions.

“Our main aim is to educate the residents on the disposal of their household waste and recycling prior to issuing fines and, as the country returns to normal, we fully intend to pursue the 10 cases that have needed to be placed on hold during the pandemic.

“We will proceed with the outstanding interviews under caution and from those some may well proceed to court action.

“Since the start of 2021 we have managed to carry out 126 investigations into reported cases and, as some cases have more than one person involved, have issued 143 warnings.”