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  • UK Dumpster Diving: Is it Illegal to Go Through a Skip?


    Taking stuff out of a skip might seem like a victimless act: after all, it’s only going to be thrown away! But it’s important to remember that raiding skips can be dangerous – and most of the time, the contents are in there for good reason. The law around taking discarded items from a skip can be confusing – but in the simplest terms, if you hire a skip and catch someone going through it, then you could have grounds to press charges.

    Taking Waste from a Skip: The Law

    Just because something’s in a skip, it’s not necessarily waste. Sometimes, people hire skips to store materials for later use; such as bricks or aggregates, plumbing fixtures and bulky items that cannot be stored elsewhere while works are ongoing.

    These aren’t discarded items, and taking them would be stealing, which is against the law.

    If a skip is placed on private land (for example on a driveway, a commercial property or on a building site), then anyone other than the property owner found rifling through its contents will be trespassing. Aggravated trespass is a chargeable offence with a maximum penalty of three months in prison – but this is rarely enforced unless other crimes are committed, such as damage to property and theft of items.

    If the skip is on a public road, then trespassing is impossible, but the items are still under the ownership of whoever hired the skip until the skip hire company takes the waste away. Taking these items could fall under theft if the owner presses charges.

    A lot of the time, items in a skip (even those in perfectly good condition) are absolutely intended to be thrown away and their owner has no stake in them at all. The only way to know if they can be taken away legally is to ask the owner; so knock on the door and ask permission before going dumpster diving!

    How to Stop Skip Raiders

    Sometimes, and especially in commercial settings, dumpster diving is a big problem. People could be injured and items intended to be repurposed could impact the delivery of a project.

    Site security isn’t always perfect – and unattended skips can be very tempting for an opportunist. Thankfully, there are several ways to tackle skip raiding and dumpster diving.

    Our 6 yard skips to 10 yard skips are available in open or closed variants. A closed skip has a cover that can be locked, making it a secure way to keep waste and reclaimed material on site. RORO skips can also be provided with closing tops, securing far larger quantities of material.

    Another solution is to combine a secure skip with a caged tipper hire service – allowing you to reduce the footprint of stored materials and run a tighter waste removal operation. A caged tipper can immediately clear waste that needs to be removed, and offers a flexible and reliable waste management solution.

    Let’s Talk About Your Skip Needs

    Beat the queues and appointment slots at your local recycling centre – and hire a skip. For more information, contact McCarthy – call 01666 505800 or order a skip online!

    UK Dumpster Diving: Is it Illegal to Go Through a Skip?
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