STEAMING rubbish dumped in a giant heap on a former mill has sparked a ‘hazardous’ waste alert.

Police, council officers and the Environment Agency are investigating the illegal tipping of tonnes of decomposing debris at the former Vernon Carus St Paul’s Mill in Hoddlesden.

Councillor Julie Slater said the giant pile was ‘horrific, dangerous and a health hazard’.


She said that more than 20 lorry loads of mainly plastic rubbish had been dumped on Johnson New Road site in the last few days.

In 2008 the premises, which had been empty since its closure in 2003, were destroyed by fire.

It has had various owners and is the subject of a planning application, registered in May 2010, to build 87 homes on the site opposite Hoddlesden Hall.

Borough public protection boss Tony Watson referred the heap to the national Environment Agency because of its size.

East Rural ward Conservative Cllr Slater was alerted by neighbours to the first lorry loads of waste being dumped after a break-in at the site on Saturday and informed Blackburn with Darwen Council and police.

She said: “Tonnes of rotting rubbish has been tipped on the site.

“It is horrific, dangerous and health hazard.

“I was alerted by neighbours after eight to 10 lorries came and dumped tonnes of what looks like mainly decomposing plastic rubbish there.

“Another 12 lorry loads were dumped on Tuesday.

“It is rotten and was smouldering as I walked around. It absolutely stinks.

“The pile was steaming with a smelly, noxious vapour coming off it.

“We have had tyres and other rubbish dumped before but nothing like this.

“There are culverts and brooks on the site and this waste could get into watercourses and supplies. It’s a health hazard.

“These were big lorries and it looks like a professional job of breaking into the site and the men with the lorries were aggressive to nearby residents.

“The site needs clearing, this dangerous rubbish removing, the perimeter properly secured and those responsible tracked down and prosecuted as soon as possible.

“We need the application for homes approved so work can start and ensure the site is not a target for dumping.”

Alan Dyer, fromThe Coach House opposite the site, said: “This is unpleasant and worrying, especially the fact that the site was broken into.

“My wife Dilys has reported it to the police and the local councillor Julie Slater.

“The site needs securing and clearing and measures taken to stop it happening again.”

A Lancashire police spokeswoman said: “ We can confirm this has been reported to us and an investigation is on-going.”

A spokeswoman for the site owners Sterling Property Co Ltd from Bury said: “We are aware of this and taking steps in regard to this issue.”

Mr Watson said: “We are liaising with the Environment Agency who are dealing with the issue because of the amount dumped.

“We would urge anyone with information to come forward and call 585921 or contact the Environment Agency.”

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said last night: “Officers have attended Hoddlesden Mill today and are working closely with Blackburn with Darwen Council to investigate the source of the waste.

“The origin and contents of the waste have not yet been identified.

“Illegal dumping and waste crime is a blight on local communities and we take incidents like this very seriously.

“We are looking for evidence to help us track down who has committed this waste crime.

“If you witnessed anything that may help us to identify those involved please call 01772 714094 between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

“We have spoken to the landowner, who was not aware of the waste being dumped until notified by the council.

“They will be securing the site as soon as possible, to prevent further illegal deposits of waste. “