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Fly-tip lands Somerset man in jail

A Sedgemoor man who fly-tipped waste over his garden fence into a back lane spent a night in jail for not dealing with a fine for the crime and left court today [Tues 3 Oct] with a bill for £280.

Unemployed father-of-two Marcus Jones, aged 25, was arrested and held overnight after he failed to appear for a summons about an unpaid fixed penalty notice for dumping rubbish.

Responding to questions from a council enforcement officer, Jones admitted fly-tipping, said he was not aware that his conduct was an offence and apologised.

But he never paid the fixed penalty notice, which is reduced from £400 to £250 if settled early, saying that he could not afford to meet the cost.

Today Jones, from Dukes Mead in Bridgwater, was fined £250 for fly-tipping, with a £30 victim surcharge but the court was told he would not have to pay costs because of his low income.

Sedgemoor District Council solicitor Steve Hellard, prosecuting at Taunton magistrates, said: “Fly tipping blights local communities and poses a risk to human health and the environment.”

He added that, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, householders have a legal “duty of care with regard to their waste and a duty to ensure that such waste is properly disposed of”.

Fixed penalty notices and court prosecutions are part of a Somerset-wide campaign to fight fly-tipping that has included closing a road that became a dumping blackspot in Mendip.

With special training and coordination efforts, surveillance cameras and warning signs, Somerset’s councils have seen fly-tipping across the county fall to a five-year low.

And there are hopes that a new push can be launched to tackle “Facebook fly-tips” with online warnings about criminal dumpers for those using social media to get waste taken away.

Simple steps anyone can take to fight fly-tipping are highlighted on Somerset Waste Partnership’s website at somersetwaste.gov.uk/about/fight-fly-tipping.

 

Somerset schoolchildren asked to name giant ‘bores’

There has already been a Mary, a Jessica and a Phyllis, now local schoolchildren are being asked to find suitable names for a trio of machines which will be burrowing beneath the Bristol Channel as part of EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project.

The three tunnel boring machines will be removing 370,000 cubic metres of earth to enable 3.3 kilometres of tunnels to be built underneath the seabed. The tunnels will carry seawater to cool the two European Pressurised Water Reactors at the new power station.

But tradition decrees that the machines can only start work once they have been officially named – and it must be a female name as the patron saint of miners is Saint Barbara.

“We will be asking Key Stage Two pupils across the region for their suggestions for names as well as the reasons why they’ve come up with them, whether it’s a local connection, a strong female role model or maybe someone with a scientific background,” said Hayley Terrell, EDF Energy’s community relations officer for Hinkley Point C.

Mary, Jessica and Phyllis were all tunnel boring machines working on the Crossrail project – Mary was the wife of famous railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Jessica Ennis-Hill was a gold medallist at the London Olympics 2012 and Phyllis Pearsall single-handedly created the London A-Z.

Each tunnel boring machine weighs in at around 1,200 tonnes, or the equivalent of 1,000 family saloon cars. They are 110 metres long – around the length of nine passenger coaches placed end to end – and will dig out enough soil to fill almost 1,500 international squash courts.

All the soil removed will be kept on site and landscaped, while the water intake pipes themselves measure 3.5 meters in diameter – enough to drive a Mini car through.

Pupils will have until December 4 – the feast day of Saint Barbara – to submit their ideas with the winners due to be announced in the New Year. Information about the competition is currently being sent to schools. More information is available online at: https://www.edfenergy.com/energy/nuclear-new-build-projects/hinkley-point-c/tunnel-boring-machines.

Have you completed with your Voter Registration Form?

All households across Sedgemoor will have received an annual voter registration form within the past month. Although there has been a good response rate, many people have not yet confirmed their details, despite it being a legal requirement for SDC to collect the information.

If you have not returned your form or updated the details in any way residents will be seeing Electoral Services canvassers in their neighbourhood during October and November.

They will be making personal visits to every property in Sedgemoor that has not returned the form. They will ask the householder to confirm the details held on the current Register of Electors and if no one is home they will post a calling card, asking you to call Electoral Services direct.

This is a costly way of collecting your details, so do not delay and return your form as soon as possible. Thank you.

Rural Crime

New text number to combat rural crime – 07492 888109

We launched a new text service to help us prevent and detect rural crime in January.

The service was aimed at encouraging rural communities and businesses to help us by providing information and intelligence about suspected crime in their area.

The number allows the public to text information directly to the Rural Crime Team, who assess and action the intelligence quickly and efficiently.

The service is going to continue following its three month trial but the number is changing. The 81819 number, which was also shared with our Drink Drive campaign and other services, is being discontinued and new numbers are being rolled out.

The new Rural Crime number is now 07492 888109 and will working in exactly the same way.

Inspector Joanna Mines, from the Rural Crime Team in Somerset, said: “We trialled the number for three months and have decided to carry on with the service. However, we felt we needed our own specific number and the 81819 number was quite expensive to run. The new number is specifically for Rural Crime and is a lot more cost effective.

“The number came about as many people who belong to our FarmWatch scheme said they wanted a facility to be able to pass on information and respond to messages quickly, and this number has facilitated that.

“We want to hear from anyone who has information about any suspicious or potentially criminal activity in their area, for example – details of people/vehicles seen behaving suspiciously, potentially stolen goods or livestock being offered for sale either to the public or at markets, sightings of stolen vehicles we might put out an alert for.

“No matter how small or insignificant people may think information is, it may be a vital piece of a jigsaw that helps us fill in the gaps and either prevent a crime or bring offenders to justice.”

Messages are currently sent out via text message, voice alert and email to members of the Neighbourhood, Farm and Horse Watch schemes to alert them to crimes and incidents in their area. This new number will allow people to text back information quickly and easily.

Anyone can use it if they have information about rural or agricultural crime in their area, and isn’t just for Watch members.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Rural crime affects the livelihoods of farmers, smallholders and rural businesses and presents some real challenges for the wider rural areas. I know the Rural Crime Team, working closely with our local communities are committed to tackling and preventing crime.

“I know from speaking to residents and farmers that there is a real desire to engage with the police when it comes to tackling rural crime. Providing an appropriate way for our rural communities to contact the police with intelligence will make a real difference to ensuring our countryside is safe and feels safe.”

It is important to note that the number isn’t monitored 24/7. The team will be looking at it when they are on duty, it therefore shouldn’t be used for reporting crimes.

You can report a crime online via our website www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

If it’s a crime which requires an immediate police attendance then dial 999.

The new number is 07492 888109, please text us any information you believe could either help prevent or detect a crime in your area.

You can still pass on information via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.

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