Illegal tyre dump warning as 7,000 clearing work starts at Towyn
A warning has been issued of the danger of illegal tyre dumping as officials start to clear 7,000 left on farmland.
More than 20,000 were initially stored on land at Towyn near Abergele, Conwy, by a man claiming he intended to recycle them.
He fled abroad and landowner Maria Burt was left to pay for their removal in what she called a nightmare experience.
The Environment Agency said it was clearing the tyres because they were a fire hazard.
"The danger is that the tyres could catch fire with the effect that could have on the community and the environment," said the agency's Dylan Williams.
"There is the potential that toxic smoke would be created, which would affect air quality, also that property could be affected and the water supply contaminated.
"And, of course, the whole area would have to be closed off until the fire was put out."
The clearing work began on Monday, and is scheduled to take about five days.
Mr Williams said landlords and letting agents should be "very vigilant" when they are approached by individuals wanting to use their premises to store or deal with waste.
"They should contact the Environment Agency to ensure that the relevant permissions are in place," he added.
Ms Burt said she had been approached by a man claiming he wanted to go into the recycling business who showed her his business plan.
'Sounded a good idea'
"It sounded a good idea. He did have some licences to transport the tyres and I just thought, 'yes, this looks a good deal'."
Several weeks later the man said he had got some money available to buy a machine to "crumb" the tyres, she said.
"The machine never arrived and by this time he'd filled the unit up with more and more tyres, and the Environment Agency got involved."
Initially Ms Burt said she did not think the situation was too bad, then she realised the cost of removing the tyres would approach £30,000.
It had been a nightmare which had left her unable to trust anyone, she said.
Any landlord approached should vet potential tenants, even visiting places where they had been before, she said.
"I don't think the idea they had initially was what they wanted to do. They did want to con me," she added.