Hundreds of people are reporting fly-tipped messes to the council - but only a few perpetrators are being caught and fined.

New data from the Office for National Statistics reveals how often fly-tippers in the area were punished.

Across 12 months in 2021 and 2022, the local authority received 2,289 reports of incidents around the borough, took 234 actions and issued 77 fixed penalty notices.

In 2022/23, there were 1,930 reported incidents, and action was taken to tackle 247 of them. 17 of these resulted in fines being given to people or companies responsible for the mess.

During both time periods, fly-tippers were financially penalised in less than 0.1 of the total cases.

Recent incidents that have hit the headlines include a witness seeing a flatbed truck drive onto the Polo Ground and tip a pile of of sharp objects, exposed nails, and screws onto the grass last August.

At the time, the local authority acted quickly to clear the debris and investigate the vehicle responsible for it.

Swindon Advertiser: Fly-tipping on Swindon Polo Ground in April 2023Fly-tipping on Swindon Polo Ground in April 2023 (Image: From public)

In April, complaints were made about the area around the closed Oasis Leisure Centre becoming a hotspot for fly-tipping.

Mere months after a large-scale community effort to tidy the Oasis grounds, large amounts of wood, tubing and insulation were dumped near the Grade II-listed facility.

After hearing about these concerns, Swindon Borough Council made SevenCapital aware of the situation, who confirmed to South Swindon MP Robert Buckland that the mess would be tidied up and concrete bollards would be added to block access to the site.

In June, Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner welcomed the news that the minimum financial sanctions for dumping piles of rubbish in public places increased from £400 up to £1,000.

Further changes will see additional support given to local authorities to enable them to hand out more fines to ‘disrespectful offenders’, and a change in the law removing the need to have the regulator present when a police officer seizes a vehicle unlawfully carrying waste.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “We respond to all incidents of fly-tipping that are reported to us and try to clear it up as quickly as we can.

“We have seen a reduction in the number of fixed penalty notices we have issued recently, which is due to a current shortage of staff in our enforcement team.

“We are aiming to step up our enforcement activity in due course.

“People can report fly-tipping incidents via:”