MPs have reacted to news of no fly-tippers having been prosecuted for illegally dumping their rubbish in Sutton during the past eight years.

Earlier this week, data obtained by the Sutton Guardian revealed how zero offenders have been successfully taken to court and prosecuted – despite thousands of reports.

This newspaper’s Freedom of Information (FOI) requests found the number of recorded incidents had reached 4,581 during the past five years alone.

But not one fly-tipper has been prosecuted in the borough by Sutton Council, from April 2010 until the time of publishing (October 17).

REVEALED: No fly-tippers have been prosecuted in Sutton during past eight years - report

While the Government granted councils stronger powers to help tackle the costly and hazardous crime with on-the-spot fixed penalty notices (FPNs) in May 2016, only seven have been dished out by the council since being introduced.

Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Scully is “concerned, but not surprised” by the news, while Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake expects to see more FPNs and prosecutions in the future.

Mr Scully said: “I was concerned, but not surprised, to learn about the complete lack of action from Sutton Council to punish fly tipping in our borough.

“This is something that residents rightly complain about, such as when traveller incursions over the summer left our parks blighted with piles of fly tipped rubbish, but it needs strong leadership from the council to enforce.

“Unfortunately it’s clear we don’t have that at the moment in Sutton and the approach to fly tipping certainly needs to change very quickly to gain back residents confidence.”

Mr Brake said: “Now the joint enforcement team [Kingston and Sutton Shared Environment Service] is up and running, I would expect a larger number of FPNs to be issued and the odd prosecution to make an example of a particularly bad or prolific fly-tipper.

“Fly-tippers deface a borough I am proud of, and they deserve to be taken to court.”

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A Sutton Council spokesman stressed that the team which deals with this matter, the Kingston and Sutton Shared Environment Service, has inherited a “significant backlog of issues and work”.

The enforcement team only became “fully operational” in December 2016 and there were apparently delays until after May the following year.

He said: “The problem of fly-tipping is often less than the general perception, and reports come in many forms, including where rubbish has been disposed of on private land.

“Each case is judged on its merits and there are a number of options available to deal with offenders.”

The council spokesman added he couldn’t comment on the decisions made by the authority’s officers several years ago regarding prosecutions at this time.

However, he said action has been taken since the shared service, between Kingston and Sutton councils, was formed.

Caught fly-tippers can be punished with a fine of up to £50,000 or a year in prison if convicted in a magistrates' court, or an unlimited fine and a five-year jail term in a crown court.