The high cost of illegal waste tyre dumping was revealed in a Mildura Court with a Red Cliffs man convicted and fined $20,000 and ordered to repay nearly $900,000 in clean up costs. He must also do 200 hours of unpaid community service and pay nearly $5,000 in EPA legal fees.

Over a ten-year period, Colin Thomson amassed nearly 110,000 waste tyres on a Benetook property in north west Victoria. While he wasn’t the owner of the property, he had the owner’s permission at first, to collect tyres and store them on the property.

The owner has since passed away, but the executors of the estate realised the magnitude of the tyre waste and its potential risk to the environment, including as a fire hazard. The cost to the estate of removing the tyres was almost $900,000, none of which was contributed to by Colin Thomson.

EPA inspections found piles of tyres, some in the open, but many behind brush and trees in an attempt to hide the real scale of the dumping.

Colin Thomson charged tyre retailers to dispose of the tyres, and is estimated to have earned as much as $266,000 over the years. None of that money has gone into cleaning up the waste tyres, though Thomson has helped with moving some to more accessible locations for disposal.

“Waste tyre dumping is a major focus for EPA Victoria, in fact all authorities across the country are coming to terms with what is a growing waste issue,” EPA Chief Investigator Greg Elms said, who commended the actions of the executors who took on the responsibility and financial liability of the clean up.

“Tyres are being dumped in your parks, forests and private land. This not only creates an eyesore, it is a risk to our health and environment. Dumped tyres provide a breeding ground for vermin, produce toxic smoke if they catch on fire and as this case shows, cost a lot to clean up.

If you see illegally dumped tyres, or you’re offered a disposal rate cheaper than seem feasible, contact EPA on 1300 372 842 and

“By reporting inappropriate tyre storage or illegal dumps, you’re protecting your community and environment.”

Reviewed 25 March 2024