GWENT councils spend millions of pounds every year dealing with people’s rubbish, be it bins, bags or boxes.

Yet the councils also have to deal with other people’s waste dumped in other ways, most notably the blights created by fly tippers.

In Caldicot, residents campaigned for years to get rubbish cleared up on the edge of their town.

One resident who spoke to the Argus previously, but didn’t want to be named, said that she had been campaigning to stop the dumping from 2002 – and that meaningful progress was only made at the end of last year.

She said: “People were putting baths and doors and toilets there.

“It was really bad, it was absolutely disgraceful. It was by the railway. People would come down with lots of stuff. We got Jessica Morden [Caldicot’s MP] down here.

“It was getting out of hand. There was everything you could think of. You didn’t know how it was getting there altogether but it was a huge amount of rubbish.

“It was between Caldicot and Rogiet – it was unbelievable.

“This had been going on since 2002."

Another new dumping hotspot in Gwent seems to be Pill in Newport.

The Argus has reported extensively how volunteers who clean up the area in their spare time have seen their work collecting rubbish disregarded.

The Pride in Pill group collects for hours at a time – and often returns with tonnes worth – only to see a fly tipper has dumped something else without any regard for residents or any possible fine.

It happened last month.

Just before Christmas skips were installed by a city skip hire firm so people could dump their unwanted things without chucking them on roadsides.

But just last week, Pride in Pill’s found Paul Murphy told this newspaper problems had returned and someone else had been merrily fly tipping along Courtybella Terrace again.

He said: “It has been a problem for months. I have contacted the Argus about it before and informed Newport City Council on Saturday.

“I am concerned about the risk to people’s health and the dangers to children who may be playing in the street.”

Newport council – along with the other four local authorities – warn people of the consequences of tipping illegally, but for some people it just doesn’t seem to act as a deterrent.

Newport council's cabinet member for streetscene and city services Cllr Deborah Davies said: “Tackling this sort of environmental crime is made more difficult by the perpetrators who go to considerable lengths to cover their tracks.

“Prosecutions are intelligence-led and require the council to be able to identify the culprits from their waste but all too often this is not possible. We also rely on information from the public.

“Newport City Council is committed to tackling fly-tipping and prosecuting those responsible and would very much appreciate the support of the city’s residents to help us with this often difficult task.”

It is a common problem which, in particularly straitened times, councils could do without. Newport council estimates it spends £300,000 clearing up after fly tippers every year.

But they only make a fraction of that back through fines.

Last year, the Argus reported that across Gwent fly tippers stood only a minute chance of being caught.

Caerphilly – as well as being the largest borough geographically – saw the most fly tipping. There were 10,438 reports sent to the council over a five year period - but just 67 prosecutions were brought.

Through those prosecutions the authority made back just under £12,000 – but over that time £691,328 was spent clearing up the mess.

In Newport. the council got £2,600 back from people who were found guilty in court of fly tipping or through fines. Only five people were prosecuted.

In Torfaen, 18 people were caught; in Monmouthshire there were just three.

Blaenau Gwent received the fewest reports of all Gwent councils over five years – with just 432 reports over the same time-span.

Overall, according to Freedom of Information requests, there was a total of just 135 prosecutions across Gwent per 23,181 reports of fly tipping.

Sean Watts, who lives in Beaufort and has campaigned against rubbish being dumped in his county, set up a Facebook page to unite people against fly-tipping.

He said: “It’s frustrating. You can’t blame the council – but since [we set up the site] it’s gone berserk.

“It seems to be getting worse not better. I don’t know who to blame. It is just ongoing.”

Clampdowns are being undertaken. Councils are looking to fight back – but they are doing so amid considerable budget cuts.

For example, in Monmouthshire there are plans to increase the number of people who are able to issue on the spot fines to people littering or fly tipping.

But across such a vast geographical area, whether or not they will be able to significantly reduce fly tipping there is unclear.