HUNDREDS of used syringes were found illegally dumped following a “dangerous” incident of fly-tipping off the A6 at Selside.

The shocking discovery, described as the worst case of its kind in years, was made on Monday.

A member of the public called South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) to report three black bin bags having been discarded in a lay-by.

An SLDC operative was sent out to the location and found eight boxes of varying sizes inside the bags, estimated to contain hundreds of syringes in total.

John Barwise, neighbourhood enforcement officer with SLDC, said it was the worst case of this type of fly-tipping which he had recalled seeing in more than four decades with the local authority.

“We do get requests to pick up the odd sharp (syringe) but we have not had anything of that scale in 41 years,” he said.

“It’s the nature of the waste and the quantity of it because it’s clearly not from an individual domestic property.”


He speculated the containers had come from healthcare premises, due to their quantity and size.

“Identifying marks” on the boxes had been scratched off, which Mr Barwise said indicated it was a deliberate act.

And, in a bid to find out who was responsible, the council has launched an appeal for witnesses or anyone with information about the dumping incident to come forward.

“It’s totally irresponsible of the person who has put it there. It’s potentially very dangerous and it’s also highly illegal,” said Mr Barwise.

“It does make me angry how people can think it’s right to dispose of hazardous waste in a public area.”

He added clinical waste could not be disposed of via normal means, and needed to be collected specially. Mr Barwise said the burden for collecting the waste now fell on the taxpayer, simply because the owner “couldn’t be bothered” to pay for disposal.

Ironically, the news comes after it was announced that South Lakeland and Eden appear to be bucking the national trend when it comes to fly-tipping.

Figures released by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) showed councils dealt with more than one million incidents between April 2018 and March 2019, an increase of eight per cent on the previous year.

Going against this worrying trend, South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has recorded a 61 per cent decrease in confirmed cases of fly-tipping since 2017, with 281 instances in 2018/2019.

However, Mr Barwise said: “One incident is one incident too many. It’s a beautiful area and we want to keep it that way.”

In Eden, numbers have remained steady, although a spokesperson for Eden District Council (EDC) said it was still a “big problem” in the area.

“We feel that people fly-tip in this area partly because of laziness and partly because of the cost of either getting bulky items collected or the cost of fuel in getting to their local household recycling facility,” they said.

“Not only is it a visual blight on the beautiful landscape of this area and spoils the enjoyment of both residents and visitors, fly-tipping can contaminate the environment, be a danger to people, wildlife, livestock and pets and costs millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money each year to clear up and dispose of, not including the cost to individuals when it is dumped on private land.”

The spokesperson warned that, if a case ended up in court, the perpetrator could be fined £50,000 and receive a prison sentence because it was “regarded as such a serious offence.”

Last month, a £200 fixed penalty notice was reportedly issued to a roofer who got rid of some unwanted items for a customer by dumping them in a gateway in the Eden Valley.

And, elsewhere, a video recently surfaced of two tents which had apparently been discarded at Thirlmere, with litter such as food packets and bottles strewn around the site. It was posted to the ‘Max Out in the Lake District’ Facebook page.

In 2017 The Westmorland Gazette launched its ‘Stop the fly-tippers’ campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the issue and urging people to report sightings.

Anyone with information about the event on the A6 at Selside should contact 01539 733 333 and ask for the enforcement team.

Incidents of fly-tipping can be recorded online at and