COUNCIL bosses have welcomed a call for tougher sentences for fly-tipping.

Latest analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA) reveals no-one convicted of fly-tipping in England since the Government introduced new guidelines in 2014 has been handed the maximum £50,000 fine or 12 months in prison by the courts.

This is despite fly-tipping incidents rising, nationally, by 39.6 per cent since 2012, up from 714,637 to 997,553 in 2017/18.

Southampton City Council (SCC), although not having the latest figures available, said it is “likely” that there has been rise in the number of fly-tipping incidents.

A city council spokesman said: “SCC would welcome tougher sentences that will act as a stronger deterrent to the small minority who repeatedly fly tip rubbish, rather than disposing of it in an environmentally friendly and socially considerate manner.

“Investigating any criminal offence, including fly tipping, is time consuming and costly and any increase in government funding to support this enforcement activity would be welcomed.”

Last month the Daily Echo reported on rubbish illegally dumped in a car park, next to recycling bins, beside the River Itchen in Southampton. It was the second time this year rubbish had been dumped at the car park on Woodmill Lane.

Meanwhile, Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) says it has a “zero tolerance” approach to fly-tipping, and investigates each case “with a view to prosecuting”.

A TVBC spokesman said: “We forensically examine any fly-tipped waste to identify the source and gather information.

“In the past 12 months, the council has successfully prosecuted 25 cases, with more than £33,700 in costs and fines issued to those found guilty of this selfish and unsightly crime. One case resulted in a custodial sentence in lieu of a fine, while another resulted in a 12 month community order of 100 hours of unpaid work.”

Figures for the borough show an increase from 523 reported fly-tipping incidents in 2013/14, to 987 in 2017/18.

The spokesman said: “TVBC liaises with the other local agencies and authorities to share intelligence, carrying out regular stop and search activities and using covert cameras to catch fly-tippers in action.

“Educational activities are also offered to local schools and organisations as part of the council’s ‘Love Where You Live’ initiative.”