HIDDEN cameras could be placed at fly-tipping hotspots across the county, as civic chiefs step up the fight against illegal dumpers.

Hampshire County Council is to trial the covert devices after receiving a £3,000 grant from the Rural Delivery Budget. If successful, the council says it could be rolled out county-wide.

This comes as part of the authority’s illegal dumping crackdown, which included the appointment of a new £50,000pa fly-tipping chief Gareth Roberts.

Speaking about punishing those caught he said: “We are starting to build a better picture as to how much it costs the local authority for every fly-tipping event.

“We want to make sure that the fine fits the crime.”

Mr Roberts also revealed that the Winchester district saw a reduction of 100 tonnes in fly-tipped waste over the past year.

This is a big boost for the area, which has been one of the worst hit by the latest dumping trend.

The region has seen a steady rise since 2014, with more than a thousand tonnes of waste tipped at the roadside to date.

But the latest figures for the area show that around 340 tonnes of fly-tipped waste has been dumped in the 2017/18 financial year – down from 440 in 2016/17.

This reduction of 100 tonnes equates to the weight of around 71 average-sized cars.

Mr Roberts said: “A lot of waste comes out of Portsmouth and dumped in the Winchester area (which extends as far as Southwick – less than five miles north of the city).

“We get a lot of urban waste fly-tipped in the countryside.”

The findings for the rest of the county, which have yet to be verified by the Environment Agency, are due to be published in November.

City council member for community safety and neighbourhood services councillor Lisa Griffiths said: “Winchester City Council takes fly-tipping very seriously, and have a 100 per cent success rate in regards to fly-tipping prosecutions.

“We have been working hard to crack down on those who disregard the District’s environment and blight the lives of our residents by dumping waste.

“Over the past year we have employed an officer to take forward fly-tip prosecutions; this will help us continue our robust approach. In addition we are also identifying hot spot locations in the district and will target these areas with extra patrols.”

Councillor John Bennison added: “I am looking forward to seeing the progress of the scheme.”