News

Crime Stoppers offers rewards for environmental crimes

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Crime Stoppers of Haldimand, Norfolk & Tillsonburg held its annual community appreciation luncheon at the Greens at Renton Thursday. Scotiabank in Simcoe received The Tom Stackhouse Award for 2017 for corporate support of the local Crime Stoppers program. Accepting on behalf of Scotiabank was branch manager Jeff Schaus.  MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

Crime Stoppers of Haldimand, Norfolk & Tillsonburg held its annual community appreciation luncheon at the Greens at Renton Thursday. Scotiabank in Simcoe received The Tom Stackhouse Award for 2017 for corporate support of the local Crime Stoppers program. Accepting on behalf of Scotiabank was branch manager Jeff Schaus. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

RENTON - 

Crime Stoppers wants eco-warriors to know that patrolling Planet Earth can be good for their bottom line.

In recognition of Earth Day this Saturday, Crime Stoppers of Haldimand, Norfolk & Tillsonburg has partnered with the Ministry of Natural Resources to raise awareness about environmental crimes. High on the agenda is the illegal dumping of garbage in pristine rural areas.

The local chapter of Crime Stoppers wants it known that reward money is available to anyone providing tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of people who foul the environment.

“It’s an issue on Crown land and on private property,” says local Crime Stoppers chair Neil Unwin. “We have the Erie shoreline here and a lot of Crown land.

“We want to focus on this issue for Earth Day. If people see it happen, we want them to forward that information to Crime Stoppers and we will forward it to the OPP, conservation officers and whatever other responsible agencies are involved.”

Epic dumpings of appliances and old furniture are a chronic problem in Norfolk.

Aside from being illegal, these crimes are maddening because they show disregard for the environment and the landscape residents and visitors have to look at during their travels.

People behind these dumpings are faceless and usually get away with it. But they inevitably leave clues behind about themselves, namely that they are lazy and sloven and contemptuous of the tax dollars required to clean up their handiwork.

“I’m glad to hear it,” says Mayor Charlie Luke. “It’s about time. What’s happened to our society? How did we get to the point where we assumed it was OK to throw things out on the road?

“When I was a kid I wasn’t even allowed to throw a piece of gum out the window of our car. You took it in the house and threw it in the trash.”

Const. Ed Sanchuk, spokesperson for the Norfolk OPP, said police will comb through illegal dumpings in search of something that will identify the offender.

About 30 years ago, someone dumped a load of trash along the road in the countryside near Delhi. Police found billing information in the bags and charged the person at the enclosed address.

Sanchuk said the Norfolk OPP haven’t been so fortunate with some of the recent dumpings they’ve investigated. However, he added that illegal dumpers better watch their step. There are tickets for littering and then there are the fines allowed for in the Environmental Protection Act.

Sanchuk says anyone dumping tar, paint, chemicals, shingles, toxic demolition waste, tires and the like could be hit with a five-figure fine or worse if convicted in court.

“There are way bigger fines under the Environmental Protection Act,” Sanchuk said. “The EPA has some real teeth to it.”

Unwin, Luke and Sanchuk made their remarks at the annual Crime Stoppers community appreciation luncheon at the Greens at Renton on Thursday.

Tips to Crime Stoppers can be called in at 1-800-222-8477.

Callers who help solve a crime are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000. Callers to Crime Stoppers do not have to identify themselves, do not testify in court and do not speak to a police officer.

Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com