An investigation has been launched after 56 car tyres were found dumped in a field beneath a countryside layby.
Enforcement officers from Cherwell District Council were notified of the flytip by colleagues from the street cleansing team who discovered the tyres in a field off the A422 Stratford Road between Wroxton and Balscote.
The tyres had been dumped over the wall of a layby containing glass bottle banks, located between the junctions for Balscote and Ironstones Lane.
Mark Harmon, Cherwell District Council's environmental enforcement manager, said: "Due to the amount of tyres which were dumped at the scene we suspect this offence was committed by a motoring business or fraudsters posing as legitimate waste collectors. Aside from the environmental issue, it is likely that a trusting customer has paid what they believe to be a reputable company to undertake a task on their behalf and it's unacceptable that they unwittingly helped criminals profit from this crime.
"No flytip is acceptable but in this case the act is deliberate and prolonged which shows a blatant disregard to the environment, wildlife and our officers who are tasked with clearing the mess. Not only that, it is innocent taxpayers who ultimately lose out as they have to foot the clean-up bill and have resources diverted from tackling other issues across the district."
It is believed the offence happened on or before Tuesday, 11 April when it was discovered by the street cleansing team. Due to labels found on the tyres, it appears they may have originated from a company selling second hand tyres.
All companies have a duty of care to ensure commercial waste is correctly disposed of using a licensed collector. Officers from Cherwell's enforcement team believe a company flytipped the tyres themselves or unwittingly hired a bogus collector to clear the rubbish on their behalf.
However, under Government legislation, the company responsible for the tyres could still be liable for the flytip even if the offence was committed by a bogus collector. This is because all businesses have a legal responsibility under Duty of Care to ensure all waste is correctly disposed of by a licensed collector.
Cherwell's enforcement officers are now appealing for information to trace the culprits and pursue a criminal prosecution to recover the clean-up costs.
Anyone with any information should contact the team in confidence on 01295 227007.