Cavan County Council is continuing to wage war on bogus waste collectors, voicing a determination to secure prosecutions against collectors themselves, and also on the homeowners who avail of the highly illegal black market service too.
"It's blatant criminality, that may also be linked to other criminal activities. I can't comment any further because these are matters under investigation. Only to say that we will use the full powers of the Waste Management Act to prosecute those connected to such offences," says Conor Craven, environmental awareness officer with the local authority.
His comments follow a recent spike in action by the waste management section of the council in terms of publicising the illegality of giving household waste or recyclable materials to unauthorised waste collectors.
Aware of so-called "bogus" waste collectors operating in Cavan, some originating within this county, Mr Craven appeals to the public to dispose of household waste responsibly. He adds that using bogus collectors only diverts funding from State services and can significantly damage the environment.
Offering their dubious services at substantially reduced tariffs compared to the current market-rate, these bogus collectors are advertising online, cold-calling door to door, and may also be using a text messaging service as well.
"The end result is the same, the practice is illegal, and the outcome is not a good one for the county," explains Mr Craven.
The Council's insight into the shady practice is bolstered by admissions in court following prosecutions of persons under the Litter Pollution Act, as well as members of the public who have come forward with information about these unauthorised waste collectors.
Working with An Garda Siochana, and liaising with various Departments, Revenue and the - Regional Management authority, Mr Craven says: "We're aware of the problem, and we are continuing to gather intelligence on a local level.
"The process of enforcement has already begun in many cases. We have taken some prosecutions already under the Litter Pollution Act, people who have admitted using a bogus collector to dispose of their waste," he adds
The next step Mr Craven points out is to begin prosecuting under the Waste Management Act, under which the penalties can be far more severe. If found guilty of giving your waste to an unauthorised waste collector, a person may face a fine of €4,000, or serve up to 12 months in prison.
"That obviously doesn't include legal costs either, and the legal costs of the local authority in taking the case to court, which we will pursue also," he stresses.
Appealing for further public support, and thanking those who have proffered information to date, he promised all contacts will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
"The evidence we have is that these people are engaging in illegal fly-tipping on a random basis, at different sites around the county. It's not good.
"What we're trying to do is encourage people to do the right thing. Be responsible. Be responsible for the county and the local environment too. Don't feel intimidated by these people. Just stop giving your waste to them, because if you don't and we find your rubbish among an illegal dump site, we will prosecute," Mr Craven vows.