Tax payers have been left with a £200,000 bill after Cheshire East Council failed to recoup a single fine for fly-tipping last year.

Official figures show there were 3,037 incidents of fly-tipping in Cheshire East in 2017, which cost tax payers £182,629 to clean up.

But despite more than 600 investigations, costing £22,572, only 68 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued, and not one was paid, according to figures by the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs.

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Macc s lesfield South Councillor Chris Andrew said he was ‘shocked’ by the figures. He said: “I would urge the council my colleagues to fine more people and to do it more efficiently to make it a real deterrent against fly-tipping in the future.”

Carl Hudspith, North West spokesman for the National Farmers Union, said the council needs to work with the police and farming community, who are also left counting the cost. He said: “Fly-tipping is increasingly scarring our beautiful countryside and new measures to tackle the problem are much-needed.

“Like the local authority, farming shoulders the cost of this crime. Farmers are the ones left to foot expensive bills to report, clean-up and dispose properly of waste illegally left on their land.

“This cannot continue and the NFU has already laid out solutions to deal with this issue in its Rural Crime Report. For example, there needs to be a joined up approach between Government, landowners and police to prevent this act in the first place, and provide assistance to farmers clearing up rubbish when they fall victim to fly-tipping.”

Councillor Hilda Gaddum, who represents Sutton, says the growing nature of fly-tipping in Macclesfield is a ‘major’ problem and very ‘depressing’.

She said: “It is depressing and makes life very hard for people going about their business, blocking farm gates, roads and private properties. Then it is their financial responsibility to get it sorted.

“I am very, very worried about it and find it very, depressing that people are prepared to damage the countryside in this way.”

Councillor Alift Harewood recognised the difficulties in recouping the costs. She said: “There is no way of getting it back, there is no straight process.”

Any illegal fly tipping should be reported to the council at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/environment or by calling 0300 1235011.

Cheshire East Council did not respond to our request for a comment.