There has been a massive fall in fly tipping in Thornton Heath after a united effort by the community and council but the message is still failing to be heard by some residents who have been using this public footpath (pictured) as their own personal dump.

In June  and July there were 776 reported fly tips in the Thornton Heath area but after the council and the Thornton Heath Community Action Team began working together with a targeted Don’t Mess with Thornton Heath leaflet there has been a 44 per cent fall.

Following the distribution of the leaflets to thousands of homes reported fly tips dropped to  432 in November and December.

This also coincided with council enforcement teams carrying out surveillance operations with some 32 people facing prosecution.

However, this statutory footpath which runs behind houses on Mersham Road and Livingstone Road clearly demonstrates that some residents just don’t care about the environment they live in.

The Hythe Road footpath NO 683 has gradually been getting worse and as you can see is now impassable because of the build up of rubbish. During the summer it also became a venue for anti-social behaviour with drinkers actually camping out amongst this mess.

One resident said: “I don’t dump stuff there but there is furniture and clothing right behind my fence. I do wish the path was cleared and gated because it has become a safety issue now. I don’t imagine any of the residents  would use it to cut through because I have seen needles and all sorts of crazy things back there.”

The 330 yard stretch of footpath links Grange Road with Norbury Road and according to the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, a statutory footpath has to be maintained at the public expense.

Councillors are aware of the issue and Cllr Karen Jewitt said she found addresses in some of the rubbish linked to residents whose houses back on to the footpath. However, the footpath appears to be no nearer getting cleared  as the council’s rubbish contractor Veolia are concerned about sending anybody down there because it is so ‘hazardous’.

One option could be to charge residents to remove the rubbish they have dumped and those proven to have fly tipped in the footpath already face being fined. Another fly tip hotspot Liverpool Road got a visit from  Cllr Stuart Collins, cabinet member for Clean Green Croydon and enforcement officers last week after  the contents of a front room were dumped on the pavement. However, the culprit was quickly identified and Cllr Collins went door to door talking to residents about fly tipping and street cleaning standards.

He said: “The response was positive and led to a fine being issued to the resident who fly tipped her own road.”