THE illegal dumping of rubbish is so "lucrative for the white van man" that they're even hiring vehicles to do the job.

Fife Council's safer communities team told councillors that taking people's household rubbish and fly-tipping it in the countryside became good business for criminals.

But they're hoping the introduction of free bulky uplifts and new laws giving them the power to seize vehicles involved in illegal waste dumping will combat the problems.

At the Cowdenbeath area committee, Brian Westwater, the safer communities team leader, said: "Since the rules came in about people being able to get free uplifts, there might not be the same take-up from the 'white van man', so to speak.

"I do know that when we were investigating, and let's just use the Westfield site as an example, when there was us, the police and Sepa, we knew who was doing most of the dumping.

"It was proving it that was the problem.

"It got to the stage a person's vehicle broke down and they just went away and hired one from Enterprise.

"That's how lucrative a business it was to them, that they can hire a vehicle just to carry out this lifting of people's rubbish for £30 or £40, no waste transfer certificates or anything like that, and then just dumped up at Westfield, as well as many other areas across Fife.

"So the new legislation you're talking about, that sounds like good news and maybe another tool in the armoury for combating these, and I will call them, the white van men who will come and lift your rubbish for a vastly reduced rate and illegally dump it."

The team was giving councillors an update on their activities over the past year which included investigating 421 reports of illegal dumping in 2022-23.

Mr Westwater added: "The Westfield site (a notorious hotspot for fly-tipping between Ballingry and Kinglassie) has now been totally cleared, an absolutely fantastic piece of work that's been done up there."

There was also a big increase in the number of abandoned vehicles, 347 compared to 246 the previous year and 143 in 2020-21, which has been replicated across Fife.

Mr Westwater told the committee: "When we give you a total, these are the reports that have come in to us, that's not to say they're all abandoned cars. If we identify that the vehicle has an owner it ceases to be abandoned.

"If it's on the street and it's taxed and as long as it's not parked in a way that's causing a nuisance, it's not sitting with the windscreen panned in and no tyres, then as far as we're concerned it's not abandoned and it's legal for it to sit there.

"It can still be dealt with as a nuisance vehicle depending on the state of it, and if there's no MOT or road tax we report it to DVLA.

"However it could be months, these guys have the whole of Scotland to cover, before the area you stay in gets a visit from the DVLA and they then clamp the vehicle and take it away."

There were 159 reports of dog fouling last year, officers also dealt with 486 requests for pest control in the Cowdenbeath area – 152 related to mice, 131 for rats, 88 for ants and 38 for wasps – while 24 stray dogs were picked up.

Seventeen dogs were subsequently claimed by their owner and seven went to a rehoming charity.

The team also carried out 3,239 patrols with "a large number" in relation to youth disorder.

Lochgelly Public Park, Lochore Meadows and Glencriag were all identified as "areas of concern" while a week of action to combat dog fouling was carried out in Lochgelly.