FARMERS in the region are being plagued by fly-tipping “tightening the financial squeeze” on the sector, a agricultural firm has warned.

More than 360 agricultural fly-tipping incidents were reported in the North West last year, including one in Bury, according to Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures.

However agricultural experts say this is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Tony Larking of Farmers and Mercantile Insurance Brokers said that full scale of fly-tipping on farmland is not reflected in the DEFRA stats, which exclude most private land incidents.

Farmers who fall pray to flytippers are shouldering the burden of being responsible for the cost of clearing rubbish dumped on their land themselves ­— costing an average of £1,000 per incident. They are also liable if the waste damages the countryside.

Mr Laking said: “Flytipping is a blight on our countryside, but dumped waste is not only visually impactful and a nuisance – it can be a source of pollution and cause harm to humans, animals and the environment.

“This year’s DEFRA figures show that it is not only everyday household waste that gets dumped by flytippers – thousands of incidents involve asbestos, clinical waste and chemical and fuel waste.

“So, farmers are not only have to fork out for clean-up costs but also have to worry about the danger it poses to themselves, their workers, their animals and their land.

“These flytippers, both thoughtless individuals and unscrupulous ‘waste businesses’, don’t care that their irresponsible actions could lead to farmers being prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

“Innocent farmers have the choice of footing the clean-up bill or facing significant fines for not dealing with someone else’s mess.”

However Mr Larking says there are a number of steps farmers can take to protect themselves, including by being vigilant, communicating with neighbours, and reporting suspicious vehicles.

He added: “Deter would-be flytippers by ensuring that fields, particularly those which are roadside, are gated and locked where possible.

“If you fall victim to a flytipping incident, be cautious, as the waste could be hazardous. Record as much detail as possible, take photos and report the incident to your local council.

“If the problem persists, consider setting up security lights and a camera. This will help provide crucial evidence should the council decide to investigate.

“Finally, and most importantly, make sure that any rubbish dumped on your land is disposed of properly and, if required, use a reputable, registered waste company to help with disposal. By failing to remove the waste or moving it on to public land, you will leave yourself open to prosecution and could face fines of tens of thousands of pounds.”