Who has been dumping newspapers around Sledmere….for the past 14 years?

Residents of Sledmere are appealing for information about a 14-year mystery that has seen newspapers – not editions of the Wolds Weekly! – dumped in hedgerows, briars and on farmers’ land in the village and surrounding area.

Large bundles of the unsold national and regional newspapers first appeared in Sledmere back in 2008 and have been dumped intermittently since.

The most recent papers were spotted in an overgrown hedgerow in late October by Sledmere resident Adrian Robson.

He told the Wolds Weekly that he generally comes across the newspapers whilst out on walks or bike rides, with the fly tipping unable to be seen by those driving vehicles.

Adrian said that all attempts to unmask the culprit have failed over the last 14 years despite assistance from East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

It’s causing problems for other people who have the expense and inconvenience of getting rid of the newspapers. We can’t lie in wait, as it doesn’t happen every day and when it does, it’s in the early hours of the morning.

adrian robson

If Adrian finds the newspapers whilst they remain dry, he and his wife are able to salvage and recycle them.

But if the newspapers are left in wet weather or for a long period of time, the only option is to dispose of them at a landfill site.

“This has been going on for some time now,” said Adrian. “We first tried to get to grips with it back in 2008 but ultimately failed.

“We think it had probably been going on for several years before that, so perhaps the papers have been dumped in the village for close to 20 years.

“Back in 2008, East Riding of Yorkshire Council was involved, as was Fimber Parish Council, which also had issues.

“Newspapers were also dumped in a local farmer’s pit, but we all failed to find those responsible and it’s continued ever since.

“It seems to have come to mind again more recently and I’m not sure why. Perhaps the driver has started dumping the newspapers in larger quantities.

“So, we decided to bring it to people’s attention again. In Sledmere, the newspapers are generally dumped on the B1253, which locally we would refer to as the Bridlington and Malton road.

“Generally, the bundles are unsold national newspapers, simply thrown out onto the roadside.

“Usually, they are dumped where there is some cover, such as brambles or an overgrown hedge.

“If you are driving in a car, you probably wouldn’t see them, but if you walk or bike past, as I often do, you are looking down on them.

“At the moment, my wife and I are regularly litter picking and if we see the newspapers whilst they are still dry, we will recycle them. If not, they have to be taken to landfill.

“The farmer is also seeing newspapers continually dumped in his roadside pit.

“The most recent newspapers I noticed were on the road between Garton-on-the-Wolds and Wetwang, dumped in the briars.”

The sale of newspapers usually operates in a system known as sale or return. Any copies that are unsold will be refunded to them by their newspaper supplier provided they are returned.

The supplier then has the same arrangement with the newspaper publisher and would return them for recycling.

Presumably, the newspapers that have been dumped in Sledmere are on their way back to the publishers – but never reach their intended destination.

Adrian said someone must have questioned where the newspapers have gone over the last 14 years.

On behalf of the residents of Sledmere, he either wants the culprit to stop or see them prosecuted.

“We can’t understand why it happens,” said Adrian. “There must be a procedure that needs to be followed for returning old newspapers.

“Surely somewhere along the line the papers have to be accounted for.

“Why the driver would do this is a question we cannot answer.

“It’s fly tipping. If you see a washing machine on the side of the road, you feel annoyed about it and this is the same.

“The person dumping them perhaps doesn’t see it like this, but we certainly do.

“It’s causing problems for other people who have the expense and inconvenience of getting rid of the newspapers.

“We can’t lie in wait, as it doesn’t happen every day and when it does, it’s in the early hours of the morning.

“We’d like whoever it is to stop doing it, fess up to his responsibilities and do the honourable thing.
“It they do get caught, then a fly tipping charge should be brought against them.”

A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “Disposing of waste in this way is a criminal offence and where information is received regarding responsible parties, the council will investigate.
“We would encourage residents to report any fly-tipping incident they come across or pass on any information they have regarding this issue particularly.

“The best way to do this is by calling 01482 393939, online at or email”

● Do you have any information to help the people of Sledmere solve the mystery of the newspapers that have been dumped in the village for the last 14 years?

If so, please get in touch with the Driffield & Wolds Weekly by calling 01377 232875, emailing, visiting our office on Middle Street South or private messaging the Wolds Weekly Facebook page.

We will pass on any information to Sledmere Parish Council.

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