Couple named, shamed and fined for horrific state of garden they refused to tidy

A couple have been shamed and fined £600 after leaving their ‘eyesore’ garden piled high with rubbish.

Thomas Bell and Helen Milburn were reported to Darlington Borough Council after neighbours noticed a foul smell coming from their rented property.

The council’s environmental health team submitted written warnings and ordered them to clear the waste in June 2021.

Pictures show a pile of black bags which is so big it reaches the top of a garden fence. Discarded furniture, including a door and parts of a sofa, were also dumped outside the home.

The couple continued to pile rubbish regardless of the warnings, and have now been found guilty of failing to remove the unhygienic waste in a timely and proper manner.

They were each fined £220 and ordered to pay costs of £408 and a victim surcharge.

Thankfully, the garden has since been cleared.

Councillor Jamie Bartch said: ‘Rubbish and household waste needs to be disposed of regularly in a proper and hygienic manner because otherwise, we end up with a situation like this where it builds up in gardens or yards.

‘Rubbish dumped outside encourages vermin, smells and flies, as well as

being an eyesore and having a negative impact on neighbours and the local


‘We offer a range of services to dispose of refuse but in this case repeated requests to remove the refuse were ignored and fixed penalty notices were not

paid leaving us with no option but to prosecute and arrange for the refuse

to be cleared and the costs recovered.’

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