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Father and son fined for “rat-ridden waste mountain” outside Lye home

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A father and son have been ordered to pay nearly £2,000 by a court after accumulating a “rat-ridden waste mountain” outside their Lye home which neighbours said was attracting rats.

Mattresses, wood, building materials and even a disused caravan were piled up on the driveway and in the back garden of a semi-detached bungalow being rented by Paul Shillingford in Star Street.

Shillingford, 49, and his son Aaron Shillingford, 30, also of Star Street, appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court last week after a district judge ruled they had failed to clean up the mess within an agreed timescale by the court.

Following the prosecution pursued by Dudley Council’s enforcement team, the men were fined £450 each, both ordered to pay £400 costs and also a £32 victim surcharge each. They have been given 28 days to pay the total sum of £1,764 or face further action which could include imprisonment.

The waste has now been cleared from the site, where Aaron Shillingford also has a waste collection business registered, the court was told.

The court heard Dudley Council received initial complaints about the property in February last year, with residents saying they had seen rats running around in the waste and onto neighbouring homes.

Other complaints were received as council enforcement officers investigated, and in August last year a notice was served giving the men 21 days to clear the site of rubbish.

Follow-up visits revealed the rubbish was still there in January this year, and a district judge allowed the men an extension to the start of April to get it cleared.

But the court was shown pictures taken by the council on a visit on April 23 which showed rubbish still all over the site.

The two men were charged with failing to comply with a notice under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949. Both denied the offence but they were found guilty by the district judge after a trial on Friday last week. (Sep 10)

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm, said:

I wholeheartedly welcome the decision of the court and the district judge in this case.
I have seen the pictures taken by officers and I can only imagine what it must have been like to live so close to such an unsightly mess.
These two men created a rat-ridden waste mountain outside their home which must have made life hell for everyone living around them.
They were given every opportunity to tidy it up and failed to comply with extended deadlines.
It should act as a strong warning to people that in cases like this we will take the strongest action available to us to protect our residents.
These two men now have a large amount of money to find in a short space of time to avoid further punishment.

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