Landowners in the North-East of England have been left with a £750,000 clean-up bill after waste was illegally dumped on their properties.
The Environment Agency (EA) says there were 11 separate incidents in the region over the year, with thousands of tonnes of baled rubbish being left at farms, industrial units and the side of roads.
The cost of lawfully removing the waste dumped in fields and commercial properties could be even higher if land is contaminated or insurance premiums are pushed up.
The EA says dumped waste is also a major fire risk.
The department is warning landowners to check empty property regularly to make sure it is secure and tenants are following the law with regards to waste disposal.
Jamie Fletcher, Area Environment Manager at the EA, said: “Waste criminals operate throughout the country, offering to remove waste cheaply and then dumping it in fields or empty warehouses. They tend to move to new areas as enforcement agencies become wise to their activities.
“Waste criminals are not welcome here and we’re doing everything in our power to deter and catch them.”