They are the bane of many a street in Bristol’s life – the abandoned mattresses which appear dumped on a pavement overnight and end up attracting more if left long enough.
The mattresses remain until someone from Bristol City Council comes round with a flatbed truck to pick them up – a retrieval service which costs the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.
But now, someone has actually been caught in the act, prosecuted and fined £200 for illegally dumping – with their dumping of a mattress ending up costing them £200.
The rare prosecution and fine came about because a local resident was so sick of mattresses being left on their street – Cutler Road in Bishopsworth – that they managed to get a picture of the mattresses on a truck and then on the pavement – and was willing to give a statement linking the two.
That was enough for the council’s Neighbourhood Enforcement Team to act, and they tracked down the owner of the lorry and issued a fine.
The offence took place earlier this year – before the £200 fine for illegally depositing mattresses went up to £400.
The council declined to name the Bristol resident who was fined for dumping the mattress, and because they accepted a fine, the matter was not taken to court, so there is no public record of their identity.
A spokesperson for the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team said the evidence provided by the resident was essential.
“A concerned citizen, who was willing to give a statement, contacted the council to report they had seen the mattresses on the back of a vehicle registered to the person in question and then subsequently found them on the footpath a couple of days later,” she said.
“This type of evidence is so helpful to efforts to tackle fly-tipping in the city. Fly-tipping reports can be made online and, if you say you have evidence, a member of the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team will contact you as soon as the report is received.
“The offence took place before the fixed penalty for fly-tipping was increased to £400,” she added.