A man who charged residents £60 to collect such items as broken fridges and televisions and then dumped them on local beauty spots has escaped with a suspended sentence.
Alan Yarlett, 63, left court grinning.
Judge Michael Lawson has criticised the law around fly-tipping saying:
"It creates problems of perception that decent, law-abiding citizens fear having a dustbin with a lid that doesn't close and this defendant gets away scot free.
What can the court do to punish him?
Sadly the guidelines on individual offending prevent me from imposing an immediate custodial sentence – although that's what, in truth, a number of people would wish to do."
Dartford Council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite, whose officers helped to bring the case, told the Daily Express:
“I sometimes feel the world’s gone mad.”
It will be interesting to hear how the Government justify the current guidelines.