Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 17, 2013

Litterbugs could face hefty fines for illegal trash dumps

PRINCETON — Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department are hoping to crack down on litterbugs across the region.

“We are going to try to find and locate some of these people doing this,” Chief Deputy D.B. Bailey said. “I just want people to be aware if they are caught they will be fined and charged. The fines could go anywhere from $100 to $25,000. It depends upon the amount of (litter) they are caught with. If we catch them they will be charged. They could also be made to do community service, fined or both.”

Bailey said probationers with the Mercer County Day Report Center also are now working to clean up illegal trash dumps across the county. The county has received numerous complaints in recent days regarding illegal trash dumps. Bailey said a few of the trouble areas include Ada, Route 112 and Country Girl Road.

“There are several other areas we are working on with the day report center,” Bailey said. “We are going to actively work with (the day report center) people doing this.”

If a day report center employee finds a name or address in an illegal trash dump, Bailey said the probationer will pass that information on to law enforcement for investigation.

Now that spring is here, and all of the snow has melted, a growing number of illegal trash dumps are being found across the county, Bailey said. In addition to the operation of hidden security cameras in undisclosed locations, deputies with the sheriff’s office also will be actively looking for individuals illegally throwing trash out.

“A lot of people will be dumping over the hill as well,” Bailey said. “People used to dump garbage in secluded areas. Now they will just throw it over the side of the road. I’m going to direct my guys to look for this stuff, and if they are caught to charge them right on the spot.”

Bailey said citizens who may have information regarding illegal trash dumps, or may have witnessed someone illegally dumping trash, is asked to report the information to the sheriff’s office at 304-487-8364.

“The code is very specific and quite lengthy,” Bailey said. “It depends upon the amount. Even if they throw cigarette butts out the window — that’s littering. That would be your $100 fine range. And then it goes up from there.”

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