Bonfire-sized heaps of branches, dozens of tyres, the paraphernalia needed to grow cannabis indoors, the fittings from a newsagent’s and amazingly, a four-item suite of expensive rattan garden furniture have all been all dumped in front of Eve’s farm gate. “It’s horrendous, “she says, “a never-ending nuisance. I’m always having to ring Leicester County Council’s Environmental Health Department to get it taken away”. “They are very good,” she adds, “they usually have it cleared within a matter of days”; and her neighbours too are quick to let her know if they think anything awry is going on. But what a problem she constantly faces, although fly-tipping occasionally raises a smile. A picture of the lovely, charcoal rattan furniture was posted on social media and created a little stampede. For a day and a half afterwards, people were driving to the spot to pick up this bargain - there must have been between twenty and thirty - but of course the first person there had nabbed the lot!
I met Eve whilst litter picking in Slash Lane and casually asked her about the large pile of branches dumped on the bridle way to Mountsorrel to the right of her gate. Little could I guess the tales that would flow from this enquiry. I learnt that Eve had farmed here in Slash Lane for the last three years, having previously run a Shetland pony stud at Poole Farm, Quorn. This business had to end as the land, owned by the County Council, was turned into a solar farm. Now she runs a hobby farm with eight cows, one bull, two dogs and twenty hens. She told me it gives her a reason to get up in the morning. It certainly does - all that lot needing attention - but caring for these animals gives Eve a lot of pleasure.
However, the wide opening of the bridle path next to her gate certainly doesn’t! It’s just a headache as vans and cars arrive at night, reverse into the wide opening and dump unseen as there’s no street lighting in Slash Lane. She knows, from addresses found on paperwork, that much of it isn’t done by locals. The contents of the newsagent’s, for example, was from a shop in Leicester. The nearness of the bridle path makes vandalism easier too. Over the years, Eve has had windows smashed in both a caravan and a car on the farm, as well as a tractor jump started, left running and burnt out. Now she doesn’t have a tractor.
Yet items dumped outside Eve’s gate is small fry compared with the things dumped on the farm itself! These larger dumpings probably occurred in the 1990s, long before Eve took over, as the then owner allowed people to leave things on his land for a fee. Two caravans were discovered when scrubby vegetation was being cleared but topping that was finding the bodies of two large lorries underneath what had been thought of as a hill! Perhaps at some point the lorry body owners had planned to grow cannabis within them. Who knows? A rough access had been made into the bodies, using a large pipe, but the landowner lost the land before it could happen. His pipe dreams faded away…….
What can be done to prevent this fly tipping eye-sore? Eve is full of suggestions. More rural policing is needed as she believes the police over-concentrate on housing estates. And more street lighting is vital. If lights were installed along Slash Lane she feels it would certainly reduce the fly tipping. But what Eve would love most of all is for the County Council to build some kind of a barrier across the bridle path that would allow access to walkers and horses but stop vans from penetrating far along the path. Surely this is a possibility?