A EUROPEAN Arrest Warrant has been issued for a serial Irish fly-tipper who was jailed for 20 months in his absence.
Martin McDonagh, 23, failed to turn up at Plymouth Crown Court and is believed to have fled to his native Ireland.
McDonagh ran a business collecting domestic and commercial waste for disposal at tips – but instead dumped it in roads, car parks and bus stops around Devon.
The “unroadworthy” van he used to dump the rubbish was seized and has been destroyed by the Environmental Agency.
He was ordered to pay a total of £7,000 costs for illegally depositing commercial and household waste at numerous sites in southwest England.
The court also issued a Criminal Behaviour Order that prohibits McDonagh from being involved in any business enterprise involving the collection, carrying or transport of waste.
Judge Ian Lawrie said McDonagh "sharked" around the streets, searching for residents looking to get rid of waste.
Sentencing McDonagh to 20 months in jail in absentia, Judge Lawrie added that the 23-year-old fly-tipper created “eyesores” in the local community and spoiled the public’s enjoyment of the natural environment.
McDonagh cold-called people across Devon offering to take waste away for cash.
He told them the waste would be taken to a local tip, but instead he dumped it in the surrounding countryside, including local beauty spots.
Several witnesses said they felt pressured into giving him their waste.
One woman, who was at home with a sick child, described the defendant as “extremely pushy” and said she felt “increasingly uneasy” with him.
She only agreed to pay for him to take her waste to “get rid of him”.
Another householder, in Exeter, became suspicious and told McDonagh that she didn’t want him to fly-tip her waste. McDonagh laughed and replied, “of course not".
McDonagh was caught following a joint investigation led by the Environment Agency, with support from Teignbridge District Council, Plymouth City Council, West Devon District Council, South Hams District Council and Devon and Cornwall Police.
Local councillor Robert Sampson said: “It is crucial fly-tippers are traced and prosecuted for the damage they do to our countryside. This case shows what can be achieved by working closely with our partners.”
McDonagh, of Pemros Road, St Budeaux, Plymouth, was paid between £50 and £400 to remove waste – always in cash. He also offered other services including roofing, decking and power washing.
The court heard how he would sometimes claim that he was “out of pocket” while asking for more money from local residents after disposing of their waste.
Victims of his scam were traced using documents and paperwork found in the fly-tipped waste. Most said they’d been approached by a man driving a ‘tatty’ blue van.
Up to 40 bags of mixed household waste were deposited at a time at numerous locations.
At an earlier hearing, Judge Lawrie said McDonagh would have faced a two-year prison sentence had he not pleaded guilty.
Issuing the European Arrest Warrant after McDonagh failed to turn up for his sentencing, Lawrie said: “Bring him back before the court.”