CCTV cameras are to be installed at an Otley wildlife area to catch persistent fly-tippers.

That may sound like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but fly-tipping is not a victimless crime. It blights our town centres, drives businesses away and ruins the countryside.

Fly-tippers may think they are passing on the cost of cleaning up their mess to the council but, ultimately, we all end up paying for their thoughtless act through higher taxes.

Now town councillors have sanctioned the use of camera surveillance at a riverside nature area at Gallows Hill.

Town council chair Ray Georgeson says he believes the problem has grown worse since Leeds City Council introduced a scale of charges for certain types of commercial waste. He may be right, but that doesn’t absolve fly-tippers of blame.

Businesses that have received payment for a job have a legal responsibility to dispose of waste correctly.

Morally, pocketing a customer’s cash then dumping their waste by the roadside is no different to asking for ‘cash in hand’ to avoid paying tax. In both cases, the motivation is the same: pure greed.

In Bradford, the council employs private contractors to catch litter louts and so far, they have proven to be an effective weapon. Thousands of litter bugs have been hauled in front of the city’s courts and fined.

We all have a role to play in policing fly-tipping. The public can act as the council’s eyes and ears. The next time you see someone illegally dumping rubbish don’t walk on by. Make a note of their vehicle’s number plate and report them to your local authority.