Dozens of bags of stinking rubbish have been dumped in the front garden of an empty property in Acocks Green in Birmingham, where they have been festering for a month. The council has resorted to looking through the bags in order to find out who has been fly-tipping in the area.
According to the Daily Mirror, a resident was eventually driven to make a complaint to his local councillor, who contacted Environmental Health and got the landlord to clean up most of the mess.
The councillor, John O'Shea, tweeted a picture of the rubbish pile, celebrating its removal. He told the Birmingham Mail: "In the defence of the landlord it appears that the majority of the household rubbish wasn't from his property. Searches have been carried out in the bags and it appears a lot of the rubbish originates from residents in the locality who have decided to dump their own household waste on it adding to the growing daily height of the rubbish. They will be receiving a visit from an environmental health officer."
The newspaper spoke to anonymous neighbours, who said that the previous tenant had left the property in a poor state, and the landlord had decided to carry out building work. There was debris in the garden when the fly tipping began, and didn't stop.
Rubbish piled high on a neighbouring property is alarmingly common in the UK. In 2013, councils received 93,579 complaints about it - making it the third most prevalent neighbourhood problem after noise and dilapidated property.
Clearly when a refuse issue gets out of hand like this, it has a massive impact on people's lives, because of the grim appearance of the rubbish, the smell, and the risk of attracting rodents. It also causes major problems for people who are trying to sell their home.
A poll by Saga Home Insurance showed that 77% of people consider the state of the neighbouring properties to be 'very important' when house hunting. Of the eyesores that put people off making an offer on a house, rubbish in the front garden topped the list, followed by dismantled cars on the driveway, overgrown gardens and evidence of lots of animals.
If you have a problem with a neighbour who leaves rubbish in their garden, then the Environmental Health department of your local council will consider it a serious issue, because there's a risk it will attract pests and could lead to a rat infestation. They can take action, and if the neighbour refuses to do anything, they can pursue them through the courts.
It's worth noting, however, that you have no right to take matters into your own hands. You cannot trespass onto the neighbour's land to remove rubbish: you need to leave it to the authorities - however disgusting the pile is getting, and no matter how frustrating you find the situation.
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