No one will be fined over a truckload of rubbish dumped at a Far North scenic lookout after the council was unable to prove the man named on letters found among the trash was responsible.
In July last year Bay of Islands residents were horrified to find someone had tipped an entire truckload of waste at the Mt Bledisloe lookout carpark between Haruru Falls and Waitangi.
Much of the rubbish had tumbled down a bank into bush and on to a well-used track in Waitangi Mountain Bike Park.
It appeared to have come from a home renovation project because it included roofing material, broken power tools, furniture, an incinerator and a bathroom vanity unit.
It also contained household waste and a number of documents with the name and address of a Haruru Falls man. They included a named letter from ACC, a roofing invoice and a building supplies docket.
The man named in the documents was ordered to pay a $400 fine plus the $572.65 clean-up cost.
However, documents obtained under the Official Information Act show the fine and costs were waived after the man told the council he didn't dump the rubbish and that he was prepared to go to court to fight the accusation.
''I did stay at the alleged address however I did not dispose of any rubbish,'' the man wrote in his response to the council.
''I have an extremely bad back and would be incapable of carting bags of rubbish any distance. Also I do not own a vehicle.''
The man also told council staff he was a flatmate at the address and that rubbish was sorted by others. He said the property owner had organised the collection and disposal of rubbish.
A spokeswoman for the council's legal service team said the fine had been waived after a review of the evidence and the defence provided.
''A letter found in a pile of dumped rubbish is not sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offence has been committed,'' she said.
''This case highlights the difficulties council staff face in policing littering and illegal rubbish dumping. We issue infringements based on the information we have. Where we have evidence, we do issue infringements or take court action. However, both options require a high level of evidence, often photographic, to succeed.''
The Advocate has asked the council if it will try to pursue the owner or other residents at the Haruru Falls property where the rubbish originated.
Waitangi Mountain Bike Park project manager Tiffany Holland, who regularly has to clear tracks of trash, said she was disappointed no one would be held to account over the dumping.
''It was absolutely outrageous, it was a whole truckload. Now there's nothing to stop someone doing it again.''
Any waste contractors or park volunteers didn't manage to clean up eventually made its way to the sea, she said.
Holland's message to would-be dumpers was simple: ''Don't be a tosser. Look after the environment.''