Thornbury man who dumped mum’s sofa in lay-by told to pay £2,600

A THORNBURY man who dumped his mum’s sofa in a lay-by has been ordered to pay almost £2,600 in fines and costs.

Stephen Mitchell, of Frome Court, was prosecuted by South Gloucestershire Council after the sofa was dumped in Hambrook Lane, Stoke Gifford, on New Year’s Eve last year.

A doorbell camera at a home nearby recorded a rental van stopping in the lay-by and then driving off, leaving the sofa behind.

The van was traced to Mitchell, aged 31, through the rental company.

Documents found in the sofa by a council clean-up team on January 6, came from an address in Hambrook Lane, which was also linked to him.

Mitchell was then interviewed under caution by council officers on January 20, telling them he and a friend had collected the sofa from his mother’s home.

A council spokesperson said: “He said that upon getting in the van, his friend had made some phone calls and found someone who wished to purchase the sofa and agreed to go to the Hambrook Lane lay-by for the exchange.”

Mitchell told the officers he stayed in the van while his friend got out, carried the sofa around the back of the van to a waiting car and got back in, having been paid £175 in cash.

However he was told the doorbell cam footage showed no-one had got out of the passenger side of the van.

The spokesperson added: “On being shown photos of the sofa he agreed that he would not pay £175 for it.

“He then stated that money was no object and if we wished to fine him for it, he would pay the fine.”

Mitchell was reported for summons to court but failed to attend twice and had to be arrested on warrant before he was brought before Bristol Magistrates Court on July 28.

He pleaded guilty to fly-tipping and was ordered to pay a fine of £1,400, £639 costs and a £560 victim surcharge – a total of £2,599.

Afterwards cabinet councillor for environmental enforcement Leigh Ingham said: “I hope this latest prosecution acts as a deterrent to anyone who considers fly-tipping in the area.

“South Gloucestershire Council will pursue anyone who dumps their rubbish illegally through the courts and our award-winning environmental enforcement team has a 100% record of securing successful prosecutions for this type of offence.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure that our waste is disposed of in a responsible and lawful manner.

“This waste could have easily been disposed of at one of our Sort It recycling centres, but instead it was left discarded by the roadside and expected that others would deal with its removal.”

The council is encouraging people to take large items to Sort It recycling centres or have them removed via its bulky waste service, which can be reached on 01454 868000.

Anyone who sees illegal fly tipping should call the StreetCare helpdesk on 01454 868000, email or visit