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'Plymouth's worst fly-tipper' jailed after three years on the run
A Plymouth man who fled to Ireland after committing a year-long fly-tipping spree has been jailed.
Dubbed ‘Plymouth’s worst fly-tipper’ by the press for dumping rubbish collected from people’s homes in the countryside, Martin McDonagh, 26, caught a ferry to Ireland shortly before he was due in court in February 2017 and was sentenced in his absence to 20 months in prison.
Following the issue of a European arrest warrant, he turned himself in to the police in Ireland late last year. He has now been extradited back to Devon to serve his sentence.
Adrian Evans of the Environment Agency says of the case:
“McDonagh was described by the judge during his original sentencing as a ‘persistent offender who showed a ruthless determination to dump waste wherever it suited’.
“We have been determined to catch him to show there is severe punishment for fly-tipping and no escaping it. Any short-term financial reward is dwarfed by the penalty when you get caught.”
Martin McDonagh would call on people uninvited and offer to take rubbish to the tip for cash but instead of taking it to the tip, he unloaded it in the countryside. He pleaded guilty to doing so at 18 different locations over a 12-month period.
On one occasion he was seen transferring concrete rubble from one van to another in Teignmouth. The latter was abandoned and asbestos discovered inside. The van was later destroyed.
Having been extradited, he appeared in Plymouth Crown Court this week and was told he would begin serving his sentence along with an additional six weeks in prison for failing to surrender to custody. His van was seized and destroyed – as shown in our picture.
The extradition from the Republic of Ireland was the result of close partnership working between the Environment Agency, Devon and Cornwall Police and the National Crime Agency.
Inspector Phil Williams, of Devon and Cornwall Police’s Intelligence Directorate, said at the time:
“Cases such as this highlight the positive working relationship between partner agencies.
“It is always challenging when offenders leave the country, requiring coordination with international counterparts in order to facilitate their return to the UK.
“It is particularly pleasing that, after three years of work from the Environment Agency and Devon and Cornwall Police international liaison officers, McDonagh’s return has been secured.”
20th February 2020