A council is counting the cost after fly-tippers dumped more than three tonnes of asbestos in a Clitheroe country lane.
The asbestos was dumped along with a quantity of rubble and waste wood in Four Lane Ends, Clitheroe, overnight last night.
Ribble Valley Borough Council workers wearing protective clothes and masks spent the best part of this morning removing the asbestos using a special watering and wrapping process for transportation to a dangerous waste disposal unit.
And following a forensic inspection of the site, the hunt is now on for the fly-tippers, who face hefty fines if found.
Stuart Carefoot, chairman of the council’s community services committee, said: “This is one of the worst asbestos dumps we have ever seen in the borough and our street cleansing team responded as soon as we were alerted.
“The waste is from the demolition of a shed or outbuilding, which has been carefully checked for clues.
“It has taken our workmen the best part of a day to clear the mess at a cost of hundreds of pounds to the taxpayer and we are determined to take action against the culprits.”
Householders undertaking renovation work are strongly advised to ensure that workmen are disposing of any waste properly, because they too face prosecution if it is traced back to their property.
Fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping start at £400, but prosecution can result in a fine of up to £50,000 and 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a magistrates' court or an unlimited fine and up to five years imprisonment if convicted in a crown court.
Waste crime costs the UK millions of pounds a year in clean-up costs, undermines legitimate business, blights the countryside and is a public health risk.
Anyone witnessing fly-tipping in Ribble Valley is asked to report the vehicle’s registration number in complete confidence to Ribble Valley Borough Council on 01200 425111.