A truck driver has been caught on CCTV illegally dumping asbestos outside two pre-schools in inner Sydney. The driver dumped two tonnes of construction waste in Wattle Lane in Ultimo around 4pm on Friday, December 14.
Parents who arrived to collect their children after the spill inadvertently drove over the asbestos material. Today the council released CCTV footage of the "brazen and despicable" incident, appealing to the public to help find the truck and its driver.
The footage shows the truck with its tipping tray up and the rear tray gate swinging open, spilling asbestos into the roadway as it passes over two speed bumps installed to protect pre-school children.
The difficulty we have now is that the number is covered up, and it was deliberately covered up with a cloth
Gary Harding Ultimo Council
The truck, a white Daihatsu Delta, had a cloth tied over its licence plate. It had prominent scratches on the tray and on the driver's-side door. It also has a non-standard bar welded across the top of the tip tray, while the frame of the tip tray has a large crack near the driver's door. The truck was earlier filmed driving around nearby streets with its number plate covered.
The council's director of city operations, Garry Harding, says the driver faces a $1 million fine and up to seven years in jail. "The difficulty we have now is that the number is covered up, and it was deliberately covered up with a cloth," he said.
"We have some distinguishing marks on the vehicle and that's why we're appealing to the public, if they have seen the vehicle, to please come forward with that information..
"This man showed a complete disregard for the children's safety and there is simply no excuse. To do it in broad daylight right near two childcare centres is an absolute disgrace."
The council spent $13,000 cleaning up the area after the alarm was raised.
It says the investigation into the dumping began as soon as the clean-up was over, but it has taken three months to get clearance for all the CCTV footage from nearby buildings to be released.
"Our teams have been trying to locate this truck without tipping-off the owner and possibly compromising the case, But it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It's time to enlist the help of the people of Sydney in trying to find this vehicle."
(source SMH - Leesha McKenny)AVA's views of cases like these are, that if caught the full weight of the law should apply and maximum penalties applied, and no leniency considered