Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Rag and bone driver’s £2,000 bill for picking up waste without licence

Tall tales did nothing to prevent a rag and bone man from facing a £2,000 bill after he was caught hoarding scrap without a licence.

When an Environmental Enforcement Officer from Leeds City Council on uniformed patrol in Rothwell heard shouts of “Any rag or bone!”, he spotted a man walking along the road followed by a pick-up truck piled high with discarded household appliances and other items.

Today (Wednesday 15th April) that driver – Dean Sean Busuttil from Wakefield – was found guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court of transporting waste without a waste carrier’s licence and was ordered to pay a £500 fine, £1,500 costs and a £15 Victim Surcharge.

Back in June last year, the Environmental Enforcement Officer stopped the white and dark blue Ford Transit pickup, driven by Busuttil, in Rothwell after hearing the shouts. The back of the van contained two television sets, a petrol generator, a metal clothes dryer, two Microwave ovens, a domestic appliance, an upholstered chair, a child’s tricycle, a desk, two frames for garden chairs, exercise equipment, a vacuum cleaner, some garden furniture, two lawn mowers, and a metal bed frame.

Collecting waste requires a licence to ensure it is transported and disposed of properly and legally, but when questioned, Busuttil gave a false name – Darren Paul Busuttil – and said he possessed a licence but didn’t have it on him. He claimed the items on the back of the van had been collected that morning from around Rothwell, and that he was taking the waste to his home for selection and subsequent disposal by way of gift, sale or transfer to friends and a scrap dealer.

When he was formally interviewed later, Busuttil continued to use his false name but claimed the items were in fact from his own home and that the man walking in front of the vehicle had not been shouting for scrap, but was in fact shouting for Busuttil’s dog, who had escaped from the vehicle earlier that day. He did, however, admit that he was not the holder of a waste carriers licence.

He was nonetheless charged with carrying waste without holding a waste carriers licence and failing to keep written records of the collection, transfer and disposal of controlled waste. He pleaded not guilty.

Councillor Jamie Matthews, Leeds City Council’s lead member for environmental services, said:
“Waste collected by unlicensed waste carriers is frequently found fly-tipped as licensed waste traders will very often refuse to accept waste from them. It then ends up unlawfully dumped on spare land, along quiet country lanes or on land belonging to private individuals. It is unsightly, attracts vermin, is a danger to children and encourages antisocial crime.
“The cost to taxpayers of collecting and properly disposing of hundreds of tonnes of this waste runs into many hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.
“We will not hesitate to take action against unlicensed rag and bone men who operate illegally and blight the face of the city.”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Opportunity knocks to help provide the training Middleton needs

A knock on the door could be all it takes to break down the barriers to employment faced by people in Middleton during the recession.

Leeds City Council’s South Area Management Team is helping tackle the downturn by conducting a Reach Out Research exercise designed to find out what people in Middleton need to terms of help with enterprise, training, employment and the economy – and what barriers they face.

Between Monday 20th April and Friday 1st May, Reach Out will take place in parts of the Central Middleton estate, with council workers and other agencies going door-to-door, as well as outside shops and local primary schools.

As many people face uncertainty during the current financial crisis, Reach Out intends to find ways to boost the local economy and help local people. Those who take part will also have opportunity to receive tailored one-to one-advice and assistance with getting into employment or training for a career they'd like to get involved with, as well as a chance to receive £30 worth of shopping vouchers.

The research is being conducted to gather information on:
• what type of training schemes would be popular so that specific promotion of these courses can take place
• what careers or employment opportunities local people may be interested in so employers from those sectors can be invited to local job fairs in the autumn
• find out about what barriers people feel they face when trying to access employment or training, so projects can be developed to address these problems as part of the Middleton Regeneration Strategy
• find out about potential new businesses which could help direct activity in the new Middleton Catalyst Centre for which funding is currently being sought

The Reach Out Research links into the 10-year Middleton Regeneration Strategy, which is led by local Councillors and supported by Re'new, aims to make the area a better place to live in over the next decade. Just one part of the Strategy aims to put together a set of actions which will attempt to deal with issues of worklessness, training and provision of support for people wanting to start a new business.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member responsible for area management, said:
“Make no mistake, times are hard for ordinary people in Leeds – but rather than giving up, Leeds City Council is committed to helping the people of Leeds access the services, jobs and training they need.
“The information we collect will mean we can provide much better services that are more responsive to the needs of local people.”

Councillor Angela Gabriel, chair of the Inner South Area Committee, said:
“Reach Out Research will give us a much clearer picture of what help people in Middleton are looking for so that they can access training or employment.
“I would encourage everyone in Middleton to get involved so that we can make sure that the data gives us a true picture of the needs of this community – helping us find ways to help people in a way that is relevant and useful.”

A number of partner organisations are involved in carrying out Reach Out Research with South East Area Management, these include: Re’new, Aire Valley Homes Leeds, Health For All, Learning Partnerships, Joseph Priestley College, Leeds Chamber and Job Centre Plus.

The Reach Out Research will also help out the South Leeds Employment, Enterprise and Training Partnership neighbourhood action plan for the area.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Big fun in the Beckhills

A series of healthy living events in the Beckhill area will draw to a close this Friday with a family fun day to celebrate what has been achieved.

The Beckhill family fun day will run from 12 noon to 2pm on Friday 17 April at Carr Manor High School on Carr Manor Road. This free event is open to everyone, with residents from Beckhill being particularly welcome to attend.

There will be lots of fun activities for children including mobile quasar, drumming workshops and a street play as well as bingo and information stalls for adults.

The healthy living events have been taking place throughout the spring to promote health and wellbeing on the Beckhill estate. These included activities such as ballroom dancing, exercise taster sessions and workshops to help people stop smoking. This final event is a chance to celebrate the success of the programme and bring the whole community together.

The events have been made possible thanks to the Beckhill Implementation Group (BIG), who have secured funding from the NHS. BIG work together to improve the life chances of residents of the Beckhill estate. Money has been allocated to local groups and organisations allowing them to put on a range of activities at different venues across the area.

Councillor Matthew Lobley, chair of the inner north east area committee said:
“We would like to see as many people as possible at the event on Friday, which will celebrate the success of the healthy living activities that have been running throughout the spring for the benefit of the whole community.

“The Beckhill Implementation Group have done a fantastic job in securing the funding to allow the activities and family fun day to take place.”

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for neighbourhoods and housing said:
“Our area management teams across the city are committed to improving the local communities they serve.

“I hope that this fantastic programme of activities will have a positive and lasting effect on the health and wellbeing of this community.”

For more information on the family fun day or BIG please call Helen Taylor on 0113 200 7710.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Better drug services lead to 44% drop in discarded needles in Leeds

The number of discarded needles collected from Leeds’s streets has fallen by 44% over the last year.

The substantial reduction in needles being discarded is being credited to improved services for drug users, and improved joint working between the city’s drug services and street cleansing services.

Figures collected by Safer Leeds, the city’s crime reduction partnership, show that 32,578 needles were collected in the year April 2008 to March 2009, down from 58,170 in 2007/8, and compared with a peak of 120,238 in 2005/6.

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds said:
“These impressive reductions in the number of needles being discarded are a testament to the excellent work being carried throughout Leeds by a host of different agencies.

“There has been no single reason for the improvement. Instead, we have seen better management of offenders, greater support for people trying to quit and faster action to close drug dens.

“Drug use blights the lives of the users and the communities they live in. Discarded needles pose a significant risk to people’s health, and these reductions are signs of a real improvements in the safety of many Leeds neighbourhoods.”

The treatment system provided for drug users in Leeds has a clear focus on helping people become drug free. Support also includes improving access to accommodation and improved opportunities in education, training and employment.

It is estimated that there are 6,664 problem drug users in Leeds. During 2007/8, nearly 6,000 of these had contact with one of our treatment services.

Community based treatment services are available throughout Leeds, provided by organisations from health and the voluntary sector working in partnership. Access to treatment is quicker than ever before. 97% of people referred to treatment are now able to start it in less than three weeks.

Members of the public are advised not to pick up needles, unless they pose an immediate danger. Ideally, people should contact Leeds City Council to arrange for them to be safely disposed of. To report discarded needles or syringes, telephone 0800 138 6227, or 0113 222 4406.

Notes: Safer Leeds is the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tacking drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership organisation between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.


For further information contact:
John Donegan
(0113) 247 4450 (mon-wed am) (0113) 395 1510 (wed pm-fri)

Bin wagons drive home the recycling message

Caption: Cllr Jamie Matthews unveils the recycling message displayed on the side of bin wagons.

Bin wagons in Leeds are being used to help drive home the recycling message.

Colourful posters are being displayed on the side of the city’s recycling collection vehicles to raise resident’s awareness of using green recycling bins.

The campaign aims to remind people that cans, cards, paper and plastics can be squashed and flattened and put into the green bin to help them recycle as much waste as possible.

Councillor Jamie Matthews, lead member for environmental services, said:
“The recycling refuse wagons are easily recognisable and travel the length and breadth of the city so it’s a cost effective way to use them for promoting the recycling message whilst they are picking up residents recycling waste.

“We know that the majority of the contents of an average household bin can be recycled and so we want to get residents thinking carefully about what they are putting in their household bin and how to make the most of the kerbside collection.”

People in Leeds are recycling more each year. Early indications show that around 30% of household waste was recycled during the last 12 months, which is up from 26% for 2007/8. The council wants to increase that to 34% during 2009/10 and at least 50 per cent by 2020.

Five of the council’s green bin collection wagons have had the posters fitted and have taken to the road.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335