PEOPLE are being urged to be more responsible with their rubbish after it was revealed that incidents of fly-tipping have risen over the past year - with almost 400 more reports recorded over the last 12 months than the year before.

Blackburn with Darwen Council responded to 3,494 reports of fly-tipping during 2018/19 - meaning they were called out 363 more times over that period than the year before.

However, as a whole, East Lancashire’s six boroughs are bucking the national trend on fly-tipping as figures are falling overall, while surging nationally.

Councillor Jim Smith, Blackburn with Darwen’s executive member for environmental services, said the increase in numbers was down to ‘sheer laziness’.

He said: “There is absolutely no reason for people to fly-tip and the crazy thing about it is, in so many of these cases, people are doing it right outside of their own homes.

“We know this as we have placed gates on alleyways to stop this from happening ­— as requested by residents ­— yet rubbish still appears.

“This is just sheer laziness ­— there is no need for this kind of behaviour.

“It is free to use your local recycling centre and, even if you don’t have a car, it only costs £7.50 to have an item collected.

“As a council, we are fining more people than ever before for fly-tipping and we are strict on these kinds of incidents.”

Local authorities across England dealt with more than one million fly-tipping incidents in 2018/19 ­— an increase of eight per cent from the 998,000 reported the year before.

Nearly two thirds of all incidents involved household waste.

One of the worst recent cases in Blackburn was when waste was dumped at Cooper Bespoke Joinery in April.

Bosses were left shocked when fly-tippers broke into their headquarters and dumped 20 tonnes of rubbish on their land.

CCTV from the company’s premises showed wagons entering the site on Lower Hollin Bank Street after the lock to the yard was cut.

At the time, managing director Scott Cooper pleaded with Blackburn with Darwen Council to support the firm in helping to clear up the mess, adding that the company would be faced with a bill as big as £6,500 for the clear up.

Last month, a large number of items ­— including wood and building debris ­— were dumped on a blind bend in Long Hey Lane in Darwen.

Just last week, Blackburn with Darwen Council announced they had handed out another raft of fines to people who continued to blight their communities with household waste. The piled-up rubbish had become a breeding grounds for rats and mice.