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Gaston police officers step up enforcement of litter and illegal dumping laws

Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) 12/01/2020 - The Gaston Police Department made it clear Monday night that littering would not be tolerated in the town. Police chief Stephen Watkins took to social media to address the latest culprits after another pile of illegally dumped material was found recently. In that post he said, “Just know we are watching you and you will be charged.”

Watkins made his comment as town police officers are working to identify the party or parties responsible for a recent incident of illegal dumping. Someone discarded what appeared to be a pickup truck or trailer load of materials that is mostly wood covered in a black Formica like material. These types of materials are often used to construct inexpensive, bolt together, prefabricated items but they could have been used in built-in place features in some cases. There was also a set of steps with an unusual access door in its side in this pile. The materials could easily have come from a demolition or renovation project at a home or business.

Chief Watkins said that officers from Gaston are constantly assisting in litter pickups and had removed other illegally dumped items from the same spot within the last month. The chief made it clear after being sworn in during the November town council meeting that Gaston officers would not just be focusing on traffic violations, stolen vehicles, drugs, and other high profile crimes that they have been so successful at curtailing. “If some misguided people think this type of activity is harmless, they are wrong,” Chief Watkins said. “The citizens of Gaston are great people, and they deserve to live in a community free of any crime. When we catch someone breaking the law by doing things like this, we will prosecute them,” he concluded.

According to Lexington County’s Solid Waste page on their website, “Penalties for illegal dumping or the discarding of litter or garbage in an area not intended for that use, has a fine of $1,000 and a minimum of 15 hours litter-gathering labor. In South Carolina, there is a 100% assessment on all state litter tickets, plus any associated court fees.

If you have any information that may help officers solve this case, please call the Gaston Police Department’s dispatch at 803 785-2521.

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