Farmer speaks out after fly-tippers set fire to building waste on his Great Chishill land

The fly-tipped rubbish dumped on Rectory Farm in Great Chishill was set on fire. Picture: Robert Law

The fly-tipped rubbish dumped on Rectory Farm in Great Chishill was set on fire. Picture: Robert Law - Credit: Archant

A farmer has said he wasn’t surprised to learn fly-tippers had targeted his Great Chishill farm because of how often this type of crime is happening in the area.

At around 10pm on Monday night, fire crews from Sawston and Royston went to Rectory Farm in Great Chishill after being alerted to a report of fly-tipped rubbish being set alight.

Robert Law, who owns the farm, said: “I got a call from the fire service saying possibly building materials had been dumped in the farm entrance.

“The material was set on fire after being tipped which necessitated the fire brigade being called as, due to the proximity of the nearby road, there was a considerable risk to passing traffic due to drifting smoke.

“It wasn’t a great surprise. This is the fourth incident of fly-tipping in the area recently, and I had a load of stuff dumped at another site last month. “It’s the cost and the hassle that causes the most problems, You can’t just dig a hole and bury the waste in it, you have to pay to sort it out. It was building materials – so there could be dangerous, noxious substances in there.

“The weather is wet so I wouldn’t be doing land work, but there’s still sheep to feed, and all sorts of stuff to keep on top of and now I can’t do any of that, as I need to sort this out.

“Hopefully there won’t be any lasting damage. It has been tipped in the entrance, so we need to clear it so we can get in.”

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Mr Law became a farmer after trying it out during school work experience in Newmarket. He moved to the Royston area 37 years ago, and now owns Thrift Farm near Royston and Chrishall Grange as well as Rectory Farm.

He said: “It’s the best time of year out there on the farm at the moment and now this has happened. These fly-tippers are turning this beautiful part of the country into an absolute eyesore.”

South Cambs District Council get around 600 reports of fly-tipping a year and are working on tackling the problem.

A South Cambs spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident at Rectory Farm in Great Chishill, we got a report from the landowner that a lorry load of building waste had been flytipped near the entrance of the farm with some waste potentially encroaching onto the highway.

“An officer is attending to inspect the waste and see if there is any evidence which could lead to finding those responsible.”

A spokeswoman from Cambridgeshire fire service said: “On Monday at 10.09pm, one crew from Royston and one crew from Sawston were called to a fire on New Road, Great Chishill.

“Crews arrived to find fly-tipped rubbish had been set alight.

“Using two hose reels, firefighters extinguished the fire, before returning to their stations by 1.30pm.

“The area was re-inspected at 9am on Tuesday, and the cause of the fire was deliberate.”

Anyone with information should contact police by calling 101, submitting an online report at or you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

To report fly-tipping in South Cambridgeshire go to