Illegal dumper ‘snookered’ by a cellphone snap
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.
Abercrombie Street homeowners Judy Burton, Bob Burton and Ian Ashurst next to the excavated dirt illegally dumped outside their units in Howick.