DNA testing could be used to track down and fine people responsible for fly-tipping by Councils.
Birmingham City Council is looking into the idea as part of its initiatives to reduce the £800,000 it spends each year disposing of rubbish which has been dumped illegally. At the moment techniques used by the local authority include looking through rubbish for clues on who it might belong to.
Tony Quigley, who is in charge of the council’s waste enforcement unit, told the Birmingham Mail that there was a need to gather more evidence to successfully prosecute culprits.
He said: “We do not know if the DNA testing will work but are looking at it. We have to prove beyond any reasonable doubt who is responsible and this is worth a try.”
The DNA testing will potentially be used alongside other methods of gathering evidence including CCTV cameras, door-to-door enquiries, interviewing witnesses and sometimes carrying out covert surveillance.
Demand to gather more evidence
In 2015, less than a third of its 467 fly-tipping cases resulted in a successful prosecution. In many cases, this was down to a lack of evidence as Birmingham City Council have to prove an individual is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
If the council decide to use DNA testing, dumped items will be searched for samples of blood and saliva which could lead to their original owner being traced.
Anglesey Council already use this method as part of a crackdown on fly-tipping in partnership with North Wales Police. The authority’s waste management section began using DNA analysis back in 2014.
DNA testing has been used by the police to track down criminals for 30 years but it is usually associated with serious or violent crimes. But DNA analysis is commonly used for a much more positive purpose – helping people identify members of their family.
Paternity tests can be used when there are doubts or questions over the identity of a child’s father. Testing can also determine whether two people are biologically related in another way.
Two suspected siblings may take a DNA test to find out whether they are brother or sister. And if two men are related to each other through their paternal line a Y chromosome test will be able to confirm that they are related.
DNA tests are now readily available to the public and sample collection kits can be easily bought online from AlphaBiolabs.