Il­le­gal dumper ‘snook­ered’ by a cell­phone snap

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - IMO­GEN NEALE

A man who il­le­gally dumped ex­ca­vated earth at two East Auck­land res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties was ul­ti­mately ’’snook­ered’’ by a smart­phone photo.

The man in his 40s is due to ap­pear in the Manukau Dis­trict Court on two charges un­der the Litter Act. Each count car­ries a max­i­mum $5000 fine.

How­ick Com­mu­nity Con­sta­ble Ian Wil­letts says it’s great that some­one has been held to ac­count.

It also puts the mes­sage out there that peo­ple who do ‘‘silly things’’ never know who is watch­ing.

In July, res­i­dents at two dif­fer­ent How­ick ad­dresses had sev­eral loads of land­fill and build­ing de­bris dumped on their pri­vate prop­er­ties.

A block of three units in Aber­crom­bie Street had two or three loads tipped onto their com­mu­nal drive­way, while po­lice es­ti­mate al­most 15 tonne of fill and rub­ble was emp­tied at the back of the Howe Street house.

Wil­letts says the res­i­dents of the units were no­ti­fied about the strange go­ings-on by a neigh­bour.

He says she thought ’’that’s a bit odd, a truck go­ing back­wards and for­wards, I’ve not seen that be­fore, what’s go­ing on... pipes, bricks, soil’’.

The neigh­bour told the res­i­dents what she’d seen, in­clud­ing a de­scrip­tion of the truck and its driver.

At the Howe Street house, the own­ers hap­pened to come home and catch the man in the act.

When they asked him what he was do­ing, he gave them a story about ob­vi­ously hav­ing the wrong ad­dress and sug­gested they fol­low him back to the of­fice to speak to his boss.

The cou­ple soon re­alised the man was driv­ing around in cir­cles, cut­ting down streets in his truck, in an ef­fort to shake them.

Aware it was around the time schools get out, the cou­ple de­cided

‘‘He didn't know the peo­ple who lived there, had never been there. ’’

to call it quits and con­tact po­lice.

Wil­letts says po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions and an alert on the truck driver’s name and li­cence plate meant he was picked up by po­lice in Otahuhu three months later.

When con­fronted with photo- graphic ev­i­dence, he ’’re­alised he was snook­ered’’, Wil­letts says. ‘‘He took full re­spon­si­bil­ity.’’ Along with ad­mit­ting what he’d done, the man told po­lice there was no mal­ice be­hind where he tipped the land­fill.

‘‘He didn’t know the peo­ple who lived there, had never been there. He was just try­ing to get a job done very quickly.’’

Wil­letts says the home­own­ers are ‘‘over the moon’’ with the out­come. It cost the Aber­crom­bie Street res­i­dents more than $1000 to dis­pose of the waste.

TARANNUM SHAIKH / FAIR­FAX NZ

Aber­crom­bie Street home­own­ers Judy Bur­ton, Bob Bur­ton and Ian Ashurst next to the ex­ca­vated dirt il­le­gally dumped out­side their units in How­ick.

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