RAIL bosses have blasted illegal fly-tippers for endangering lives by dumping rubbish next to railway lines in Flintshire.

Network Rail has hit out at the culprits after a mountain of rotting rubbish was dumped alongside the tracks on the Holyhead to Chester line in Saltney Ferry.

A spokesman for Network Rail told the Leader: “Fly-tippers dumping their rubbish on railway land are being extremely inconsiderate.

“Not only that they are creating an eyesore, their waste may also encourage vermin on to the railway embankment, causing problems for the operation of the railway.

“Litter attracts rats to the railway and rats like to chew on signal cables, which can lead to signal failures, delays and even accidents.

“Fly-tipping is also illegal and it carries a fine of up to £1,000. Each year Network Rail spends large amounts of money removing fly-tipped rubbish from railway property – money that could otherwise be invested in improving the railway."

The wasteland behind Ewart Street in Saltney Ferry, which backs on to the railway line, has become a dumping ground for fly-tippers.

Dozens of discarded bin bags containing domestic waste have been piled up against resident’s garden fences close to the tracks.

The Network Rail spokesman added: “Fly-tipping is illegal in the first instance, but the problem is that people fly-tip and expect us to clear it up. We do a lot of work with the councils to clear up our lines, but if anyone sees people fly-tipping we would encourage them to report it to the British Transport Police.”

Saltney Ferry councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun feared there could already be a rat infestation and has reported it to Flintshire Council’s environmental health department.

“It’s in a filthy state,” he said.

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said: “Officers will look into the matter in conjunction with the Environment Agency, Network Rail and other relevant land owners with a view to resolving the accumulation of fly-tipped material on the site."

Anyone who witnesses fly-tipping should call British Transport Police on 0800 405040 or the Network Rail helpline on 08457 11 41 41.