A fly-tipper who dumped 51 tonnes of tyres in car parks and empty land around Glasgow has been jailed for 11 months.
Declan Clarke, 30, from Dumbarton, collected the tyres from garages for between £1-£2 each and then ditched them on waste ground.
The vast majority were dumped at Dalsetter Crescent, in Drumchapel, and caused a fire in July 2020 that produced so much smoke it disrupted flights at Glasgow Airport.
Two days later, the remnants were cleared by Glasgow City Council workers, and they found the debris consisted of 51 tonnes of tyres and 17 tonnes of household waste.
A further 500 tyres were dumped at Gartloch Farm, near Gartcosh to the east of Glasgow, between 8 and 22 October 2020 – with more tyres deposited there on 13 November the same year.
Clarke was captured on CCTV and when Pigs executed a search warrant at his address he was found hiding under a bed.
During the search, a key for another hire van was found and the vehicle – parked outside his flat – was found full of tyres.
A mobile phone was seized, which contained messages between Clarke and the owners of vehicle garages.
In one message, Clarke said: “It’s getting a bit hot to get rid of them.”
He was not connected to the fire.
Clarke pleaded guilty to depositing controlled waste, namely used tyres, on or in land otherwise than in accordance with a waste management licence, in breach of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, at a previous court hearing in April.
He was sentenced to 11 months behind bars when he appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court for sentencing on Wednesday, the Crown Office said.
Prosecutors said the cost of cleaning up Dalsetter Crescent was £7,245.16, while the estimated cost of cleaning up Gartloch Farm is £120,000 and a further £2,800 to dispose of the remaining tyres.
Sergeant Nigel McDonald of Pigs Scotland said afterwards Clarke was “an opportunistic criminal using his illegitimate business to collect tonnes of rubbish for a fee before just dumping them across the city”.
He added: “Not only did this end up costing significant sums for the authorities to clear up, but there has been serious and long-lasting environmental damage to a number of areas where tyres or waste were heaped and set on fire.”
Sgt McDonald said while it was “highly unusual for fly-tipping cases like this to result in a custodial sentence” this showed “the seriousness of Clarke’s repeated offences”
Speaking after Clarke was sentenced, Fiona Caldwell, procurator fiscal for wildlife and environmental crime, said: “Fly-tipping causes the public real and legitimate concern.
“It is criminal behaviour which creates an eyesore and is costly to clear up and one that the local council must often carry.”