Thousands of pounds raised through criminal prosecutions will be used to clear up rural fly tips.

In a bid to cut down on unsolicited dumps in Hertfordshire district councils have started to fine residents who give their waste to unlicensed disposal companies.

With such schemes coming into force in places like Hertsmere, where offenders can now be fined £400, and a stepping up of enforcement measures, security and public education drives, fly tipping offences dropped 17.9 per cent in Hertfordshire.

Although welcome news, many landowners are still being hit by illegal dumps that are often too costly for them to shift.

In a bid to get the mounds moved quickly David Lloyd, the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, has allocated £20,000 from the Proceeds of Crime Act to assist with clean-up operations.

St Albans and Welwyn Hatfield district councils are now joining the scheme alongside existing members Broxbourne and Three Rivers. Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said:

“Fly tipping is a serious crime and it has a significant impact on our community," Mr Lloyd said.

"It blights the countryside and causes substantial costs for farmers and landowners to clear the waste and poses a danger to livestock and wildlife.

“I do not believe it is fair that farmers and landowners are left to pick up a bill, which can run in to thousands of pounds, because someone else has fly tipped on their property.

“This pilot allows funds from the proceeds of crime to be used for positive effect to remove fly tipping, target known hot-spots and advise landowners and farmers on improving security.

To be eligible for the funding farmers or green space landowners will have to prove they already have a waste disposal contract in place with an authorised collection firm.

Anyone interested in making a claim or finding out more information can contact the Environmental team at one of the four district councils and mention the Police and Crime Commissioner’s private land fly tipping pilot.