Fly-tipping is a scourge on the Pembrokeshire countryside, in our national park, nature reserves, woodlands and waterways.

Our farmed land is another prime target: rubbish is deposited in fields and tipped into gateways, often at night.

At a time when farmers are busting a gut to help feed the nation, it is simply unacceptable that their fields, hedgerows and gateways are seen by some as a legitimate depository for redundant fridges, washing machines and mattresses.

According to Keep Britain Tidy, two-thirds of farmers and landowners are hit by fly-tipping each year. That’s a staggering statistic.

Among the perpetrators are firms masquerading as waste collectors – people we hand cash over to in the belief that they have legitimate authority to dispose of our building waste, garden trimmings and old furniture.

It is time these criminals were pursued and given a punishment fitting their crime.

We can all play our part by denying them the oxygen to operate, by only hiring licensed operators, not chancers who treat the countryside as a municipal tip.

Waste management regulations dictate that all waste collectors must have a valid permit. If the man with a van you have hired doesn’t have that document, there is every chance that the rubbish leaving your property will end up dumped – in a field, on the beach, in woodland.

Fly tipping is not just a blight on the landscape but a financial burden that farmers can ill afford because once it is on their land it becomes their problem.

Under Section 5 of the Waste Management Act, when waste or rubbish is on private property, it is the landowner’s responsibility to dispose of it appropriately and pay the relevant costs.

There needs to be a robust response from local authorities to dealing with those who use the countryside as an illegal tipping ground, not the letters sent to farmers and landowners warning them of their obligation to clean up the mess left by others. Where is the fairness in that?