Rat infestation fears prompt court action

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A Hemswell Cliff man has been fined £1,000 for allowing 50 bags of household waste build up in his back garden.

Dean Sturgess of Minden Place was also ordered to pay £1,000 in costs with a £100 victim surcharge by Lincoln Magistrates’ Court.

Nearby residents alerted West Lindsey District Council to the mess last October.

Officers visited and issued a notice for the tenant to clear the waste within 28 days, fearing rat infestation.

Despite having several opportunities to remedy the situation, the council says he failed to take any action.

Community Officer Gaynor Allen, from West Lindsey’s anti-social behaviour team, said: “Prosecution is often our very last resort, however in this case we had little choice. The sheer amount of waste that was left outside was proving unsightly and was having a detrimental effect on the surrounding community. There were reported sightings of rats and the risk of an infestation was very likely. Food and household waste were also being blown onto neighbouring properties which added to the situation.”

The council said this has been an ongoing case since October. Sturgess failed to comply with the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, which is a Section 4 offence.

WLDC’s Prosperous Communities Chair, Coun Owen Bierley warned the council would take action against those who persistently fail to act on advice.

“This is a fantastic result from our anti-social behaviour team. This case was particularly important as it not only affected the immediate environment, but the wider area. We’d urge anyone who is suffering similar situations to report it to the council. I hope this result acts as a deterrent.”