Harrow Council is pushing ahead with a new “proactive” strategy to reduce fly-tipping in the borough.

It is targeting “hotspots” for rubbish dumping such as Wealdstone, South Harrow and Edgware to try to tackle what it sees as a priority issue.

Enforcement officers will spend their mornings trying to find evidence in bags of illegally dumped waste that could lead to action and go some way towards solving the problem.

But they explained that, while punishing perpetrators is part of the job, it is important to take a holistic approach to fly-tipping.

Joe Hannon, who spent this morning (January 16) patrolling the streets near South Harrow Station, said: “Fly-tipping is a societal problem and we need to push for a behavioural change.

“It’s about getting to the root of the problem, not simply catching people and collecting money.

“That could be educating people about how to dispose of waste properly or reminding them that fly-tipping is a crime, because not everyone realises this.”

Officers have been impressed with the initial results, after the hotspot programme was piloted in Wealdstone.

As part of an ongoing investigation last year, enforcement teams fined 21 separate households in the town £100 each for fly-tipping offences.

They said there has been a “noticeable improvement” and they will continue to monitor the target areas to avoid any deterioration.

Mr Hannon added that potential fly-tippers have been deterred by the introduction of ‘police-style’ witness appeal boards placed near street bins.

He also wants to put extra emphasis on supporting charity shops in Harrow, which regularly suffer from dumped donations – sometimes mixed with rubbish “under the guise of donations”.

Cllr Varsha Parmar, responsible for the environment at Harrow Council, praised the new system and reiterated the fact that those caught fly-tipping will be punished.

“Like our residents, it makes me so angry that the taxpayer has to foot the bill to clear up after these disgusting people blighting the borough,” she said.

“Fly-tipping isn’t just anti-social, it’s filthy. If you make our borough dirty, then you pay the consequences.”