An opposition councillor who made a 'mystery phone call' to test his local waste disposal service slammed the whole process as "frustrating".

Harrow Conservative councillor Nitesh Hirani wanted to find out how the service at Harrow Recycling Centre works for ordinary people in the borough.

The Kenton East councillor wanted to see if he could get rid of a single sofa but encountered problems with communication and the rigid rules when it comes to bulky items.

When he finally got through to someone, he was told disposals are charged in blocks of four.

This meant he would need to pay £40 to legally dispose of his one bulky item.

Cllr Hirani suggested in similar cases, people would simply fly-tip their items to avoid the costs instead of acting responsibly.

He said he has seen evidence that a lack of enforcement means people think they can get away with dumping large items on the kerbside.

“Unfortunately, this happens almost every day to law abiding citizens while offenders live a happy life since a minority get fined,” he said.

“In order to break free of this system, the authorities need to emphasise strong enforcement and increase surveillance. The offender should fear getting caught and the prospect of a hefty fine.

“Or the council should simplify the system and make it more appealing.”

Cllr Hirani pointed out there is a free alternative – the recycling centre – but this is often inconvenient when it comes to large items.

He added that among his constituents, frustration is increasing.

Harrow Council was contacted for comment on the issue.