Sights trained on fly-tippers.
The Environment Agency is holding training sessions for 68 council officers from the North East, aimed at making sure tough procedures are used across the whole region to catch and prosecute fly-tippers.
The enforcement team of ex-police and military staff will carry out the training over four days, looking at techniques such as surveillance, crime scene investigations, evidence gathering and waste legislation.
Kate Halka, the agency's project manager, said: "Our ability to detect environmental crime is improving all the time. In recent months, we have introduced forensic capabilities that will enable us to make a greater number of prosecutions." Fines of up to pounds 50,000 and/or up to 12 months in prison can be served on fly-tippers. In the most serious cases, convictions can lead to a prison term of up to five years, or a fine, or both.