We’ve all seen fly-tipped mattresses, white goods and furniture – but hundreds of kilograms of frozen chicken pieces is a first for North Herts.

Several bags of frozen chicken portions – on a commercial scale – have been left on separate occasions on the side of the road in Offley.

Packaged in red plastic and green cardboard trays, the chicken has been mostly dumped in the grass verge, with the latest lot thrown into an abandoned caravan.

Fly-tipping is illegal and punishable with a custodial sentence of up to five years and an unlimited fine.

Councillor Amy Allen, North Herts Council's executive member for waste and recycling, said: “We are working hard to catch whoever did this. Not only is it disgusting to see, but the defrosting chicken is creating a horrific smell and attracting vermin.

“As it’s near the Luton border, we are working closely with our partners, including the police, to investigate, and believe a white Mercedes Sprinter van may have been involved on at least one occasion.

"If you have any information about this incident, or know why a huge amount of chicken might be being dumped, please contact us immediately.

“We treat fly-tipping very seriously and will prosecute those responsible.”

North Herts Council said it increased the fixed penalty notice for fly-tipping to £400 earlier this year, and that its enforcement activity continues to increase year-on-year, as fly-tipping incidents continue to rise – the number has tripled in North Herts over the last 10 years.

A spokesperson for the council said: "We urge residents and businesses to use registered waste disposal operators – otherwise you could also be liable – and please report anything relating to fly-tipping as soon as possible to the council.

"You can find out if someone is registered to carry waste by searching the Environmental Agency’s register at environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers.

"The best way to stop organised fly-tipping is to make sure that only authorised waste carriers take your waste away – follow the SCRAP code at north-herts.gov.uk/fly-tipping, where you can also report incidents of fly-tipping."