A BUSINESSMAN who was fed up with fly-tipping blighting the countryside has spent £250,000 of his own money creating a free service to tackle it.

Martin Montague came up with an app that makes it easier to report illegally dumped rubbish – and got a trio of TV stars to help promote it.

The ClearWaste.com app and website link to every local authority in the country, so that the location of fly-tipped waste can be instantly sent to the right council, along with details and photographs.

A social media ad for the app stars John Challis, who played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, Emily Head of The Inbetweeners and Frankie Oatway of the Discover series Strippers: For Cash.

Mr Montague, 45, who lives near Bishop’s Waltham, said of the app: “It came about because I was just absolutely sick to death of seeing fly-tipping everywhere.

“I really hate fly-tipping and the damage it does to our environment, not to mention the cost of cleaning it up.

“I’d had the idea for the ClearWaste app several years ago and I was hoping someone else – perhaps some part of government – would come up with a way of fixing it but nothing happened. The problem appeared to be getting worse rather than better.

“Eventually I got sick of waiting for someone else to come up with some way to try to fix the problem of fly-tipping, so I decided that someone needed to do something about it and that someone was going to have to be me.

“If people find fly-tipped stuff they just take a picture with the app, put in a few details and a report will instantly be sent to the local council.

“There’s no need to go to council websites and find the right place to report it to or phone a helpline and sit waiting in a queue for your call to be answered. You don’t even need to know where you are as you can use your location settings on your phone to do that automatically if you want to.”

The app also aims to boost recycling rates by linking consumers who have waste items with those who can use them.

And it features a price comparison section to help consumers find licensed waste companies who can get rid of junk at reasonable price – and avoid getting ripped off by rogue traders.

Among the worst fly-tipping incidents Mr Montague has seen was a complete portable toilet which he described as the “last straw”.

“I decided to highlight how bad fly-tipping is but giving it a quick paint job and turning it into a Tardis. It is disgusting that someone could just fly-tip it – and leave it for some council employees to have to deal with,” he said.

Mt Montague added: “The app is free because it needs to be free, it should be free and I wanted it to be free.

“It’s to enable as many people to use it as we can and try to reverse the scourge of fly-tipping. Fly-tipping affects everyone, whether you live in a town or a city or the countryside.

“It’s bad for the environment, can be fatal to wildlife and costs councils thousands and thousands of pounds to clean-up, money that could be better spent on things like schools or care for the elderly. So the more people’s hands we can put the app into the better. Down the line, I’ve got some ideas for potential revenue streams but the main core focus of the app – to help stop fly-tipping - will always be free.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “Hampshire County Council is working in partnership with ClearWaste and welcomes the app as a useful tool to combat fly-tipping, a way of helping consumers understand their responsibilities when getting rid of rubbish and a method of encouraging people to recycle as much as possible.”