A DENTIST caught dumping three bags of rubbish at a Swindon industrial estate, claimed he thought it was a tip.

In court, Dr Leon Malherbe, who set up the Victoria Road Practice, claimed it was too dark to see properly and he had mistaken the area for a waste disposal tip.

Dr Malherbe, 39, of Clifton Street, admitted dumping waste without a licence, and must pay a fine and costs totalling more than £1,750.

Rosemary Bone, prosecuting, told Swindon Magistrates Court how Dr Malherbe was caught on CCTV flytipping the three bags and a kitchen worktop at Kendrick Industrial Estate, on Galton Way, at 9pm on June 29 this year. His car was traced back to the dental surgery.

He was caught through a step-up in environmental enforcement at the industrial estate since March. The operation was mounted to try and curb a growing flytipping problem.

He admitted in interview the man in the footage was him.

“He said he had been looking for the tip, which he was told was open later, and had taken a wrong turning,” she said.

“He confirmed he didn’t see any signs. He said it was an honest mistake and he was sorry it happened and it wouldn’t happen again.”

Mrs Bone also said that the dentist had provided evidence that he disposed of the rubbish from the dental practice and his development business professionally.

“Dr Malherbe didn’t need to dispose of this waste when he had these skips, he was already paying for,” she added.

Terry McCarthy, defending, pointed out his client’s lack of previous offences, his early plea, the minimal amount of rubbish and the fact that officers had confirmed a tip used to be there.

“It was late at night, he didn’t see any signs because it was dark,” Mr McCarthy said. “He thought that’s the right place and deposited three bags of rubbish.

“A person who is going to fly-tip isn’t going to drive from Wroughton to Swindon and leave bags of rubbish which will identify him.”

However, Mrs Bone said that the tip Mr McCarthy referred to, which was nearby, had been closed since 2004.

Presiding magistrate Robert Sparling said: “We have taken into consideration it was your first offence, but it’s something which you should know better, you shouldn’t have done.”

Dr Malherbe was ordered to pay a £600 fine, a £15 victim surcharge, £846 to cover the investigation costs, £250 in prosecution legal costs and £55 for the cost of removing the waste.