Sutton Council faces accusations of gross hypocrisy after being caught illegally dumping two truckloads of garden waste in a neighbouring borough.

The local authority invests thousands of pounds in combating fly-tipping but appears to have missed one of the biggest culprits: itself.

Photographs uncovered by the Sutton Guardian show a council van emptying rotting cuttings near a recreation ground in Reigate and Banstead.

The evidence of environmental crime gives an astonishing answer to householders wondering where their green waste is going.

It also brings charges of double standards when the £35 collection charge was introduced to reduce the cost of sending biodegradable rubbish to landfill.

Joan Spiers, leader of Reigate and Banstead Council, said: "My first reaction was what the hell is Sutton Council doing dumping waste, full stop'. It is totally unacceptable.

"We take recycling exceedingly seriously in Reigate and Banstead, and would prosecute anyone caught fly-tipping, even if it was one of our officers.

"I hope and pray this situation never happens here, and will be contacting Sutton Council to make sure the site was properly cleared."

The council shifted the mound of waste and began an investigation into who was responsible for authorising its illegal disposal.

A spokesman said: "This should not have happened and we urgently cleared the site over the weekend. We are very grateful that this incident was brought to our attention and we have already started an investigation into how it occurred."

The offence was discovered when residents near Corrigan recreation ground complained to Tim Crowley, the Clockhouse ward councillor.

His findings intensify pressure on Councillor Colin Hall, executive member for the environment, who already faces a confidence vote over his handling of the unpopular waste charge.

Coun Crowley said: "Last week Coun Hall claimed that Sutton has the fourth lowest fly-tipping rate in London. Now, under his watch, council employees have been caught doing it red-handed."

John Kennedy, Conservative opposition spokesman for waste management, said the administration lavishes money on advertising its green credentials but actually "pollutes our environment".