A LACK of witnesses or evidence is to blame for an extremely low number of fly-tipping incident resulting in enforcement action, according to a council.

Figures showed that in nearly 2,000 reported incidents of flytipping in the Barrow borough, fixed penalty notices were issued just four times.

The figures refer to 2019/20 and showed and placed the borough behind the average for the whole of England for enforcement.

Only 1.38 per cent of more than 975,000 incidents nationally resulted in fixed penalty notices.

Fly-tipping incidents in the Barrow borough in that time included household waste being dumped near to Walney’s Avon Street allotments, which was later set alight.

Concern was also raised over waste left outside a property in Egerton Court, Barrow Island, described by fire boss Roger Exley as the ‘worst I’ve ever seen’.

Fly-tipping incidents increase by 660 from the year before, figures show.

A Barrow Council spokeswoman said: “We introduced new policies to enhance the enforcement of incidents of fly-tipping in the borough in October 2020.

“Enforcement Officers are responding to all incidents of fly-tipping but unfortunately, in most cases, there is no evidence or witnesses to link the offender with the incident.

“Therefore further action cannot be taken against this anti-social behaviour.

“Where there is evidence, the offenders are prosecuted or issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice or, for lesser offences, made to remove the fly-tipped waste and are issued a warning.

“We’d like to encourage our residents to continue to report on any incidents of fly-tipping. People can do this by visiting our website or calling 01229 876543.”

Islington Council took action in more than 70 per cent of cases - the highest rate in England.