Saturday, 24 January 2009

Landlord John invites hunt to birthday breakfast after 40 years

A HUNT meet returned to the village of Kilve for the first time in 40 years to help pub landlord John Thompson celebrate his birthday.
Members of the West Somerset Vale Hunt were invited John and Nicky Thompson to have breakfast at The Hood Arms before riding out.
Dozens of villagers also turned up to join Mr Thompson, who was 61, in seeing off the hunt.
Hunt master Deb Cossey said: “It was lovely to see the great community support.
“Riding is a great tradition which some villages have lost, so it was good to bring it back to Kilve after so long.”
Mr Thompson said: “Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and it was great to see so many people show their support.”
The West Somerset pack hunts on Tuesdays and Saturdays between the Quantock Hills and the Brendon Hills.
n Next week, John and Nicky Thompson will be travelling ‘Around the world with wine’ during an evening which celebrates eight of the world’s best wines.
Each wine will be savoured as a wine master gives an insight into the region, flavour and characteristics of each wine.
An appropriate food dish will accompany each glass.
The event is scheduled for Friday January, 30, at 7 pm and is limited to 50 guests with admission only by ticket at a cost of £45 per head.
More information is available by calling 01278 741210 or emailing

Conservatives call for county to freeze council tax bills

CONSERVATIVE councillors at County Hall are calling on the Liberal Democrat administration to freeze the county’s council tax.
The Lib Dems, who run Somerset County Council with support from Labour councillors, have doubled council tax bills in the past 10 years.
Now, the Conservative opposition group is lobbying for a freeze on council tax, against a background of the county council having received a record grant from Government in this financial year.
The county’s budget is due to be finalised next month, with council tax bills going out in early March.
Currently, a further 3.5 per cent rise is anticipated which would add £35 on to the average band D bill.
Conservative group leader Councillor Ken Maddock said: “People are hurting now, so they need help now.
“We are all having to tighten our belts and the council should be no exception.
“They cannot just go on pretending that the credit crunch never happened.
“They should freeze the council tax now.”
  • Our photograph shows Councillor Ken Maddock with Conservative MEP candidate for the South West of England, Zehra Zaidi (left), and Somerton and Frome Conservative Parliamentary candidate Annunziata Rees-Mogg. Photo submitted.

ENTERTAINMENT: Seize The Day to play Monksilver hall

THE UK’s premiere political band, Seize The Day, will be playing at the EMN Hall, in Monksilver, next month.
Seize The Day are inspired by life and the urge to preserve the environment for our children, and their visit to Monksilver on Saturday, February 7, is being arranged by arts organisation Under One Sun.
Co-ordinator Jamie Robertson said: “Seize The Day comprise eight very talented musicians who do not just ‘talk the talk’, but ‘walk the walk’, giving their time and support to grassroots campaigns for a better environment for all, and to wider struggles for peace and justice.
“Their compelling performance will have everybody singing, dancing, and maybe even getting more active in changing the world for the better.”
The band will be on stage at about 9 pm and tickets are £8, or £13 inclusive of a Fair Trade supper from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
A raffle is being run by the West Somerset Peace Group with the proceeds going to Medical Aid for Palestine.
Tickets are available from Toucan Wholefoods, in Minehead, or by calling 01643 706101.
They can also be obtained from Taunton Tourist Information Centre (01823 336344) or by logging on to, or by sending a cheque to Under One Sun, 12 Hill St, Stogumber TA4 3TD.
If not sold out, gig-only tickets will also be available on the door.
More information is available by calling 01984 656727 or visiting or
  • Our photographs show (TOP) Seize The Day and (BELOW) lead vocalist Shannon Smy. Photos submitted.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Recession sees more journalist jobs axed as newspapers merge newsrooms

ONE of the two regional daily newspapers serving West Somerset today announced a sweeping new round of job cuts among its journalists.
The Western Daily Press will in future be produced by a joint editorial team working also on the Bristol Evening Post, with which it shares a head office in the city.
The morning paper will become a Metro-style publication with fewer dedicated reporters and photographers, and its website will also be axed after managers decided the paper did not have a digital future.
The merging of the Daily Press and Post newsrooms will result in up to 45 of the company’s 154 editorial staff losing their jobs.
The news comes almost exactly three years after an earlier round of job cuts to save money when nearly 60 posts were axed by the group.
Staff on both papers were being briefed today about the cuts, which owner Northcliffe Media - publisher of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday - said were necessary to safeguard the two daily titles.
Single content and production desks will produce both titles with staff ‘harvesting’ content from other Northcliffe-owned publications around the region.
Daily Press and Evening Post editor-in-chief Mike Norton said most of the cutbacks would fall on production rather than newsgathering roles.
Mr Norton said: “I have tried to do everything I can to avoid redundancies.
“However, I have no other option that will ensure the futures of the Evening Post and the Western Daily Press.
“This is about back-of-house production efficiencies and will not affect the amount or the quality of our content.
“We will continue to provide the best local news and advertising service through our print and digital platforms.”
But Christina Zaba, of the National Union of Journalists, said: “The NUJ is very concerned about these events.
“People really care about local news and they want good reliable local news.
“If a third of the journalists are removed from the local paper, then that news is not going to be the same.”
Tim Lezard, NUJ national executive council member for the South West of England and a former Western Daily Press reporter, said the union would campaign against the cuts.
Mr Lezard said Bristol News and Media, the local division of Northciffe, made profits of £7.5 million in 2007.
He said: “These are cuts that do not need to be made.
“It is an example of Northcliffe’s contempt for their readers, workers, and advertisers.
“The company would rather bow to its boardroom than serve the community it has been an integral part of for 150 years.”
Bob Satchwell, of the Society of Newspaper Editors, said: “These are very, very hard times for local newspapers.
“It is a very difficult problem. Even government minsters are now beginning to realise that they have got to try to find a way of helping those papers.
“Those papers are vital to local democracy and to help people know what is going on locally.”
Formal consultation with staff, including those represented by the NUJ, will continue until March 2.
  • The Northcliffe redundancies come just a month after The Post revealed two reporter and three sub-editor jobs were being axed by one of West Somerset's weekly newspapers, the Taunton-based Somerset County Gazette. The highest-profile victim of the Newsquest-owned Gazette's cutbacks was deputy editor Bob Drayton, who had worked for the paper for 40 years and received the MBE for services to his local community and newspapers.

'Poo in the post' test is beating bowel cancer

A BOWEL cancer screening programme operating in Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, has shown after just six months that it can save lives.
The two-year rolling programme automatically invites everybody aged between 60 and 69 years to send in a tiny stool sample to be tested.
The take up rate in Somerset so far has been between 60 per cent and 70 per cent, one of the highest figures of any programme nationally.
As a result of the test kit, more than 200 people have been called in for further discussion and a colonoscopy procedure.
Colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the large bowel which can diagnose bowel cancer at an early stage before symptoms arise.
Pre-cancerous polyps can be removed during the procedure without need for surgery.
In the six months the programme has been running, 21 patients have been referred on to the surgical team at Musgrove for treatment and 90 patients have had polyps removed.
Taunton Deane Councillor Tony McMahon, aged 62, of Milverton, was among those who received a testing pack and as a result of the sample he was called in for a colonoscopy where a polyp was found and removed.
Councillor McMahon said: “I am extremely lucky. The doctor told me that if untreated, this polyp would have become cancerous in five years time, and I may never have seen any symptoms.
“I was given a mild anaesthetic before the test, and then watched the whole thing on a television screen.
“Now, I only have to go back every 12 months for a check up.
“I was talking to a friend recently who said that he was not going to send in the test - but if a simple ‘poo in the post’ test can save your life, then why delay?”
Musgrove bowel cancer screening programme co-ordinator Julia Heneker said: “Tony’s story is a great example of how the screening programme works.
“The earlier we find a problem, the better the chance of treating it successfully.
“Sometimes, people are a bit embarrassed to talk about faeces and any problems they might have - but this is simple, private, and can save your life.”
  • Our photograph shows Councillor Tony McMahon (left) with Julia Heneker and consultant gastro enterologist Dr Stirling Pugh. Photo submitted.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Slaughter heartbreak as badgers blamed for spreading TB to pet calf Bee

SCHOOLGIRL Katherine Bigwood has been left distraught after being told a prize-winning calf she kept as a pet has to be destroyed because it has TB.
Katherine, aged 15, of Williton, was given the animal by her beef farmer father, Graham Bigwood.
Mr Bigwood, who rents a smallholding in Sampford Brett, has already lost eight of his 14 cattle to the disease.
Now, the seven-month-old calf, a Hereford-cross-Charolais named Bee, has to be sent to an abattoir for slaughter on Monday.
Katherine (pictured) was attending West Somerset Community College, in Minehead, when Mr Bigwood called to break the news that officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had confirmed Bee was infected with TB.
It was thought the disease was passed on by wildlife, most likely by badgers, which are known to carry it.
Now, Katherine is asking why the Government has refused to order a cull of diseased badgers.
She said: “I do not see what is going to be gained by shooting her when the problem is going to carry on because nobody is doing anything about the badgers.
“It is unfair my cow has to be shot while wild animals which have the disease and are spreading it are left alone.
“I do not know how I am going to feel when she has to go. I cried my eyes out. I keep telling myself that she has to be shot or otherwise she will suffer a slow and painful death, but it does not make it any easier.
“The real point is that cows are going to have to carry on being killed as long as the animals that spread the disease are going to be allowed to live.”
Katherine said she had been planning to enter more shows with Bee after the calf and her mother Honey won the ‘cow and calf’ class at last year’s Dunster Show.
She said: “I was planning to do a lot more showing with her this year because she is such a lovely animal. I was really looking forward to it.”
Mr Bigwood, who is also chairman of Williton Twinning Association, said: “Farming is a way of life. I have to help my animals and they are my way of life.”
National Farmers’ Union press officer Ian Johnson said: “Katherine’s case and many other similar ones, not to mention businesses that have gone to the wall, are all down to Government inertia.
“They are trying to be all things to all people and achieving nothing.
“Nobody complains about other characters from The Wind in the Willows being controlled, such as moles, and deer are routinely managed by being culled.
“The Government just cannot sit on its hands and do nothing.”
A Defra spokesman said bovine TB was recognised as a serious problem, but, having considered all the evidence, it was concluded culling could make the disease worse if it was not sustained over time or delivered effectively.
The spokesman said public opposition and the reluctance of some landowners to co-operate would also make a cull difficult.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Tropiquaria breeds endangered monkey twins

A BREEDING programme at West Somerset zoo and adventure park Tropiquaria has produced two more babies of a critically endangered species of monkey.
The twin cotton-top tamarins were born at the Washford Cross visitor attraction a few days ago to parents Merry and Mungo.
Tropiquaria primate keeper Diane Bond said: “Mother, babies, and father are doing well.
“Father looks after the babies for most of the time, only handing the babies back to mother for feeding.”
Zoo director Chris Moiser said the situation in the wild was now looking bleak for tamarins as they were upgraded only last year from ‘endangered’ to ‘critically endangered’.
Mr Moiser said ‘critically endangered’ was the last classification before ‘extinct’.
He said: “The reason for this ‘upgrade’ is that they come from three relatively small reserves, each of which have lost significant portions of their monkey-friendly forests to development by rapidly growing local human populations.
“It is estimated that in the last 18 years the population has reduced by 80 per cent and that there are probably now only 6,000 individuals left in the wild, of which 2,000 are mature adults.
“Fortunately, these animals do remarkably well in captivity and there is now a very viable zoo population which could be used to enable re-introduction into the world should this ever become a viable possibility.”
More information about the tamarins and Tropiquaria’s breeding programme is available by calling Chris Moiser on 01984 640688.
Tropiquaria is currently open from 11 am to 4 pm at weekends and on Wednesdays.
School and group bookings are accepted on days when it is closed to the public.

  • Our photograph shows tamarin father Mungo with the twin babies clinging to his back. Photo submitted.

Council partnership ofers discounted solar panel water heating

A PARTNERSHIP has been formed between West Somerset Council, Climate Energy, and Eco-Exmoor to ensure that providing homes with hot water will not cost the earth.
The partnership is offering grants of up to £900 toward the costs of installing domestic solar hot water systems.
The scheme aims to benefit the environment by harnessing the sun’s rays for domestic hot water, and to bring down fuel bills for homeowners in West Somerset.
A council spokesman said, “As a council, one of our corporate priorities is to protect the environment for future generations.
“This grant funding is available to all local homeowners, regardless of income.
“Applicants are not means tested and we are encouraging people to apply now, so that they can reap the rewards this summer.
“We are currently living through times of erratic fuel supplies and solar panels reduce our dependency on foreign fuel providers.
“It also keeps money in the local economy.
“We would like to run this scheme again in future, so we need this year’s grants to be used to demonstrate a need for more funding.”
The partnership can provide £500 toward the installation costs and can potentially attract a further £400 from the Department of Trade and Industry’s low carbon building programme which, when combined, can reduce the overall price by 35 per cent.
One resident, Roger Thomas, of Alcombe, who has had solar panels fitted by Eco-Exmoor under the scheme, said: “I only had the system installed in December and it is already working and heating water in the boiler.
“Previously, I saw my gas bill going up and up and I thought it was just getting silly.
“I reckon that with the panels, I will be making real savings from the end of March until the end of October.”
Andy Barrett, from Eco Exmoor, said: “Our systems use the highest quality components and they are guaranteed for 10 years by an independent underwriter.
“All of our installers are accredited, vetted, and monitored, so our customers can have full peace of mind.
“Domestic solar hot water is an excellent way in which householders can help protect the environment while saving money.
“Households can slash their carbon emissions by three-quarters of a ton every year, as well as reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
“It is an excellent alternative for householders who live in areas that are not on mains gas.”
More information on the scheme is available by calling free on 0800 0966356 or visiting
  • Our photograph shows Andy Barrett (left) and Roger Thomas outside a property fitted with solar panels. Photo submitted.

Family 'wait and see' after car shop man is seriously injured

AN elderly man who was seriously injured yesterday when he was hit by a car in Williton has been named as John Slade (pictured), the proprietor of car spares and accessories shop Motorline.
Mr Slade, aged 63, who lives with his wife Sandra in Watchet, appears to have been run over by a woman customer’s car outside his Robert Street shop.
He suffered ‘significant head injuries’and leg injuries and was flown by air ambulance to the intensive care unit of Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.
Today, his condition was said to be “comfortable” and he was now being cared for on a general ward of the hospital.
Son-in-law Darren Elliot said Mr Slade’s condition had stablilised but he was still extremely poorly.
Mr Elliot said: “We just have to wait and see.”
Police have appealed for any witnesses to the incident to come forward to help their inquiries.
They believe Mr Slade was standing behind the customer’s car when it suddenly reversed into him and dragged him some distance along the road.
Mr Slade is the main sponsor of Watchet Cricket Club and also runs Great Western Cars, a luxury chauffeur service with a 1930s-style Asquith limousine.
Anybody with any information about the accident should call the police on 0845 4567000.

Council secretly asks energy firms for £750,000 to help it decide nuclear planning applications

A SECRET district council plea for funding from companies planning to build new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point has been branded ‘unethical’ by anti-nuclear campaigners.
Sedgemoor District Council wrote to British Energy and EDF asking for £750,000 to help the authority process planning applications which the two companies were expected to submit.
The letter was written last July by the council’s director of regeneration, Doug Bamsey, but has only just been made public following a Freedom of Information request.
Mr Bamsey said the council was willing to provide a ‘lead role and work with adjacent councils’ to provide strategic and co-ordinated responses to local issues.
He wrote: “It is, however, unable to bear the financial burden of this.
“I therefore request you consider making funds available to help us create an energy policy/planning officer who would be the key co-ordinating point, with admin capacity and a working fund for meeting rooms and so on.
“I estimate this to be in the order of approx £100,000 per annum over the next five years.”
He also asked for a further £200,000 to £250,000 over a two-year period to cover a technical and consultancy budget for issues such as legal, economic, and transport assessments.
Stop Hinkley co-ordinator Jim Duffy criticised Sedgemoor’s request as ‘secretive, misjudged, creating a conflict of interest, while also flouting Royal Institute planning standards’.
Mr Duffy said: “It is easy to imagine nuclear companies expecting a smoother passage for Hinkley C had they paid this premium.
"”Sedgemoor made a bad mistake here, not least in doing this behind the backs of its own and West Somerset councillors.”
David Taylor, of Stop Hinkley, said: “The very idea that you would ask an applicant to fund a planning officer who will be dealing with your case presents just about the clearest example of conflict of interests.”
Hinkley Point falls within West Somerset, where the financially-crippled district council would be responsible for processing planning applications.
However, West Somerset has for several years only been able to manage its planning department by using the services of a Sedgemoor officer under a partnership agreement.
A spokesman for West Somerset Council said it had been unaware of Sedgemoor’s request for financial contributions from the two energy firms.
Mr Bamsey said: “These are multi-billion pound proposals with multi-million pound studies. Our resources are very limited. We do not see it as necessarily right that local tax payers should pay for this huge project.”
He said since writing the letter, the Government had agreed to meet the costs as it would ultimately decide any future planning applications for nuclear power stations rather than local councils.
A statement from EDF, which has recently bought British Energy, said: “EDF Energy and British Energy have not entered into any agreements in relation to these proposals.
“EDF Energy and British Energy believe the planning process to assess new build projects must be robust, fair and open and serve the interests of the local community.”

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Car repair man critically injured as second vehicle hits him

A WILLITON man was airlifted to hospital this afternoon after suffering serious head injuries when he was hit by a car.
The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (pictured) was called when the accident happened in Robert Street, Williton, shortly before 12.45 pm.
The man, who lives locally and is aged his 60s, was working on a parked car when he was struck by a second car.
The air ambulance took him to Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, where his condition was said to be ‘critical’.
Police closed Robert Street for several hours while an investigation to establish the cause of the collision was started.
They appealed for any witnesses to come forward to help the inquiry.
Anybody with information about the incident should contact Avon and Somerset Constabulary by calling 0845 456 7000.

Police to sell unclaimed stolen property on internet auction site

UNRETURNED and unclaimed stolen and lost property is to be sold off by Avon and Somerset police via an internet based auction website.
Bumblebee Auctions, a website specifically created for police forces, will be used to sell the property along similar lines to eBay.
Previously, the police relied on traditional auction houses to sell such property, but have now turned the internet.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary detained property manager Ken Dawes said: “Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we are unable to return recovered property to its original owner and in the majority of these cases the property is sold.
“In accordance with the Police Property Regulations 1997, the proceeds are used to help the local community by donating to charitably causes, schools, and local community-based projects.
“It is hoped that Bumblebee Auctions will expose these items to a wider audience and as a result generate increased funds.”
Mr Dawes said if an item could not be returned to its owner, it would be photographed and uploaded to the website with a brief description before it went on sale, initially for seven days.
Like other online auction sites, bidders register with the Bumblebee website prior to placing a bid and can then bid as many times as they like.
The item goes to the highest bidder at the close of the sale.
Payment is made online via Nochex and the website contains full, easy to follow instructions.
Mr Dawes said: “Typical items of property which will be sold on this site include jewellery, watches, electrical goods, pedal bikes, tools, CDs and DVDs, and games consoles.
“But there really is no limit to the type of thing which could be offered for sale, so if you do no't see what you are after on your first attempt, try again seven days later and as there are no minimum bids, you could pick up a bargain.”
  • Our photograph shows a sample of the types of item which police will be selling on the internet auction site. Photo submitted.

BUSINESS NEWS: Free outreach clinics to help local businesses survive the recession

A MAJOR programme to provide local support for small firms and help for those experiencing difficult trading conditions is now in full swing across West Somerset.
Attendance at Business Link’s special advice sessions called ‘outreach clinics’ - now being held at venues Somerset-wide - is already at a high level as business owners and managers obtain up-to-the-minute guidance on how to protect their commercial interests, take advantage of the extensive support services available, and prepare for the future.
Business Link has been working in partnership with West Somerset and the county’s other district councils, Somerset Skills and Learning, and local enterprise support organisations.
It is holding regular clinics in 14 different areas of Somerset, including Minehead, Dulverton, and Wiveliscombe.
Each clinic is free to attend and provides owners or managers of new or established small firms a 90-minute face-to-face meeting with an experienced business adviser who has had personal experience of running a successful business - all without having to leave their local area.
The adviser will review key areas, discuss the main issues being faced by a business, and identify appropriate activities and support to maintain and develop commercial performance.
And, according to Business Link’s Roger Bacon (pictured), the popularity of the first wave of outreach clinics is likely to see further expansion of the programme over the coming months.
Mr Bacon said: “Many small businesses need all the help they can get, while others recognise that specific areas of support can help to recession-proof their interests so they are well-placed to capitalise on a future economic upturn.
“But it is not always easy for managers to know where to turn when confronted with trading difficulties, or presented with new business opportunities, at a time when working capital has not been easy to come by.
“As the Government’s primary business support service, we are in a position to provide help, encouragement, and information on all areas of a business - from finance and marketing, to skills development, staffing, and business development.
“Moreover, our team of advisers are able to advise on the latest range of business support packages announced by the Government and other regional initiatives that have been introduced to help our local businesses.”
Appointments at any of Business Link’s local clinics can be booked by calling 0845 600 9966 or visiting for more information.
Mr Bacon said: “If the next clinic in your local area is fully booked, do not be put off, as Business Link is already increasing the frequency of such clinics where there is a clear demand.”
The next Minehead outreach clinic, held in partnership with Somerset Skills and Learning, will take place at the Somerset Skills and Learning Building, in Middle Street, on February 11.
The next Dulverton outreach clinics, held in partnership with Dulverton Enterprise Centre, will take place at the Enterprise Centre, Station Road, Brushford, on February 3 and March 3.
For businesses in the Wiveliscombe area, an outreach clinic will be held bi-monthly in Wiveliscombe House in partnership with Taunton Deane Borough Council.

LETTERS: 'Thank you' for readers who helped Macmillan campaign for free cancer patient prescriptions

Dear Editor - After three years of campaigning we are delighted the Government has listened to us and abolished prescription charges for cancer patients from April 2009.
This was absolutely the right thing to do as cancer not only threatens your life, but can also make you poor.
Free prescriptions will transform the lives of thousands of people living with cancer who were struggling to pay for drugs.
All cancer patients are now entitled to apply for a five-year exemption certificate, which will entitle them to all their NHS prescriptions free of charge, not just those relating to cancer.
These certificates can be used from April 1.
This covers those who need prescriptions for the treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer, or the effects of cancer treatment.
The certificate can be renewed as many times as necessary.
To get your application form please visit your GP or oncology clinic.
And if you have already paid for an annual pre-payment certificate, you can get a refund for the months after April.
We simply could not have achieved this without your help, so thank you again to all those who helped Macmillan campaign effectively and make a huge difference to the lives of those living with cancer and those people it may affect in the future.
Gillian Lord
General manager
Macmillan Cancer Support

Crash closes A358 as two are cut free from wreckage

THE A358 between Williton and Taunton was closed for a number of hours last night after two vehicles were in collision near Bicknoller.
Two men - one in each vehicle – were trapped in the wreckage and had to be cut free by fire and rescue crews using hydraulic cutting equipment.
They were handed over to waiting ambulance crews who took them to Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.
Both men’s injuries were said not to be life threatening.
Fire and rescue crews attended the scene from Williton and Nether Stowey, together with a rescue tender from Taunton, and a command support unit from Wiveliscombe.
The accident happened between Newton Lane and Slough Lane just before 9 pm and blocked the A358 in both directions, causing long traffic queues as police redirected vehicles along country lanes.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Quantocks flytipping 'man with a van' is convicted

FLYTIPPERS are being warned they face stiff penalties if they commit environmental crime by dumping rubbish indiscriminately in the countryside.
It follows the conviction of a ‘man with a van’ who dumped waste from a closed village post office in the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Andrew Austwick, aged 41, of Lyngford Square, Taunton, admitted the flytipping flytipping when he appeared before Taunton Deane Magistrates.
Austwick dumped an assortment of rubbish, including a glass-fronted display fridge, a cash register, and other items at 20 Acre Plantation, near Cothelstone, on August 1 last year.
The Quantock Hills AONB Service alerted Taunton Deane Borough Council to the incident and environmental protection officer Paul Stevens carried out extensive and complex inquiries to identify the culprit.
The trail eventually led Mr Stevens to an address in Taunton which was Austwick’s home.
Austwick was prosecuted by the council and the magistrates ordered him to complete 70 hours of unpaid work for the benefit of the community and to pay prosecution and clear-up costs totalling £500.
The magistrates told Austwick: “Your actions were quite intentional. You were out to make a quick buck. You hit the jackpot in terms of damaging the environment.
“The whole enterprise was motivated by financial gain and you were operating without a licence. Do not do it again.”
Maria Casey, prosecuting on behalf of the council, told the court the waste had been cleared away by the council’s direct labour team at a cost of £280, and prosecution costs were incurred.
Austwick told the magistrates: “It was my own fault. I should have gone by the rules and I did not. I am sorry.”
After the case, the council’s environmental services portfolio holder, Councillor Mel Mullins, said: “It is satisfying to note that the courts have recognised the seriousness of this offence by awarding a very substantial penalty.
“We live in a beautiful part of the country and we want to keep it that way.
“Let anybody who may be thinking of flytipping be in no doubt of the council’s determination to gather evidence and prosecute cases of this environmental crime.”
  • Our photograph shows some of the rubbish which Austwick flytipped on the Quantocks. Photo submitted.