Council warns against social media waste removals following beach dump

North Ayrshire council has warned residents in the area not to use unlicensed waste removal services, after a local resident was reportedly scammed. 

Irvine beach park waste (North Ayrshire council)

The council has said any residents who do pay unlicensed services “can unwittingly be funding criminal activity” and has encouraged people to follow guidelines set out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to avoid getting involved with illegal waste carriers. 


This comes after a North Ayrshire resident was reportedly scammed earlier this year, having paid a company on social media £450 to take away her waste. The company dumped her waste at Irvine Beach Park leaving her with a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice and a clean-up bill from the council of £1,825. 

The waste dumped at the beach park included tiles, slabs, kitchen worktops, cardboard and paint tins, and was traced back to the resident as packaging among the dumped rubbish had her name and address on it. 

The resident, who wished to remain unnamed said: “It started off when I told these people I had scrap metal they could have for free. When they came to the house, they said their dad had a rubbish removal firm and they could separate my waste and dispose of it responsibly. 

“I paid these people in good faith, and they looked legitimate. I wasn’t suspicious at all. They had a business card and an official-looking letter to say they were registered to remove waste. 

“When the letters came through from the council about the fly-tipping I was so embarrassed and felt sick. I had sleepless nights and felt foolish. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody, and I have warned all my neighbours.” 


Up to 60% of businesses advertising collection services could be operating without a waste carrier license, according to SEPA. 

 The body highlighted adverts offering waste collection services such as junk removal, waste clearances and household waste and recycling centre runs often look legitimate, but many are not. 

It warned that when residents use these services, waste is either burned or fly tipped which damages the environment. 


Councillor Tony Gurney, cabinet member for green environment and economy, said: “It is important that residents use only registered waste carriers to avoid using illegal companies online as many of these will simply take your waste and fly-tip it. 

“This causes damage to the environment, makes North Ayrshire look uninviting and can lead to fines and clean-up charges for residents who unwittingly pay rogue companies. The consequences can be serious, and the charges substantial.” 


Jennifer Shearer, head of enforcement at SEPA, added: “These businesses can look very professional and legitimate, with engaging adverts and reviews of great services – but what we are finding is they are often illegal.  

“These rogue traders are operating unlawfully, without the correct licences, and are often illegally disposing of the waste in Scotland’s environment.”  

Share this article with others

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

Back to top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest waste and recycling news straight to your inbox.