A tradesman who was caught dumping 12 tonnes of soil and garden waste at the side of a Perthshire road offered a witness £450 in cash to “turn a blind eye”.
Grant Matthew was spotted fly-tipping near the historic Moncrieffe Estate, on the outskirts of Bridge of Earn, last summer.
The 28-year-old, a self-employed groundworker from Fife, has now admitted depositing controlled waste without a proper licence.
Matthew, of Valley Gardens, Kirkcaldy, did not attend at Perth Sheriff Court when his case called on Friday. He was fined £1,500.
Witness asked to ‘turn a blind eye’
Depute Fiscal David Currie said that a witness turned onto access road to Sandyknowes Farm, near the junction with Rhynd Road, at about 2pm on August 19 last year.
“He saw a dumper truck depositing soil and what appeared to be lumps of tarmac onto the lane,” he said.
“The accused was challenged by the male, and the accused offered him £450 to turn a blind eye.
“He refused and took photos of the lorry. The accused thereafter drove away and the matter was reported to the police.”
Mr Currie said: “Further investigations were carried out and it was founded that 12 tonnes of soil had been dumped by the accused.”
‘It was a very silly thing to do’
Solicitor Roshni Joshi explained that her client was not in the dock, because he was working in Greenock. “There was some confusion. He did not realise he was meant to be here today,” she said.
“In this case, there was no clearing up costs involved. I understand that a local farmer collected the soil and deposited it on his land.”
She said: “Mr Matthew had been working for someone else at the time. The van was not his and he was not the driver, but he was involved in guiding the soil onto the land.
“To all intents and purposes, he was caught red-handed. He accepts it was a very silly thing to do.”
Told that it would have cost about £90 to get rid of the waste properly, Sheriff Gillian Wade said: “It doesn’t make much sense that he didn’t want to pay £90, but was offering someone a £450 bribe.”
She said: “A financial penalty is the only appropriate disposal here.”
The number of incidents reported to Perth and Kinross Council has more than doubled since 2014.
The area has been plagued with illegal dumps during lockdown, and in 2020 the local authority created a fund to help community groups and site-owners remove large amount of rubbish from their land.