A MAN who collected waste for an old school friend after advertising his services on Facebook has ended up £600 worse off.

Dayne Hitch, 27, of Newton Hall, was taken to court after an investigation into fly-tipping which included a receipt bearing the name of the friend.

Hitch pleaded guilty to a criminal offence under the Environment Act 1985 and was ordered to pay £631.35.

Newton Aycliffe magistrates heard how a council warden visited the Mark’s Lane area of West Rainton in March and found several bags filled with waste including polythene and plastic bottles, as well as a receipt for building materials bearing a man’s name and address.

The warden contacted the man who said he had paid Hitch, of Barrasford Road, to remove waste from an address he was working at.

He told the warden he usually used somebody else to remove waste, but had seen the defendant advertising on Facebook and wanted to support an old school friend.

Hitch was then served with a legal notice requiring he attend an interview, but failed to do so on more than one occasion and was charged with failing to comply with a fly-tipping investigation.

Hitch pleaded guilty by letter, acknowledging he had done the wrong thing, expressing regret and saying he had learnt from his mistake.

Magistrates fined him £133 and ordered him to pay other costs totalling £498.35.

Ian Hoult, from Durham County Council, said: “This case is also a timely reminder that people need to satisfy themselves that any waste they give to someone else will be disposed of correctly”.