SINN Féin MLA Declan Kearney has condemned a serious spate of fly tipping which has been plaguing the Nutts Corner area over the past week.
Rubbish and unwanted household goods have been systematically dumped and then burned.
Mr Kearney said this week that he is ‘appalled’.
This is fly tipping on an industrial scale,” he said.
“It is a blight on the landscape and a serious threat to the local environment, and surrounding habitat.
“This particular incident bears all the hallmarks of a criminal enterprise. Given the volume of waste involved, it is most likely the work of organised crime gangs.
“During the current COVID-19 emergency, and reduced service at council recycling centres, many people have been turning to independent operators for the removal of household rubbish.
“Unsuspecting residents are paying to have household waste removed on the understanding that it is destined for legitimate disposal. Instead, these criminals are dumping van loads of that waste illegally at remote rural locations such as Nutts Corner.
“I would appeal to people to ensure that anyone claiming to provide a waste removal service for payment is in fact a legitimate operator with the required waste carrier’s licence.
“It is also vitally important for people to ask for a receipt for any payment made as protection against possible prosecution in the event that their waste is identified at a fly tipping site.
“I commend local Sinn Féin councillor, Anne Marie Logue for her speedy response to concerns raised in relation to Nutts Corner and her follow up with the relevant statutory agents.
“I will be seeking assurances from the PSNI and the Environmental Crime section of NIEA that robust investigations continue until all those responsible are brought before the courts to answer for their crimes.”
Ulster Unionist councillor for the area, Paul Michael, also visited the scene.
“There can be no excuses for the level of fly tipping and dumping we have seen across the country at this difficult time of lockdown for all of us, and sadly our Borough is not immune to this,” he said.
“I have been in contact with council enforcement on this issue and would call on local residents to be help us catch the perpetrators of this crime - and as an elected representative I can ensure the maximum penalty will be enforced.”
The PSNI say they too are monitoring the area.
“Illegal Fly-tipping and breaches of environmental law is the solely within the remit of the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency, however the Police Service of Northern Ireland will support them in their duties,” said a spokesman.
“We will work proactively in public and private with other agencies to support them as they carry out their duties.”
* See more reports and pictures on page 7 of this week’s edition.