Hundreds of fridges and freezers are being dumped at beauty spots and streets following a change in rules governing disposal of the appliances.
In the last two months council chiefs in the Black Country and Staffordshire have reported a sharp rise in fridges and freezers being fly-tipped, with Walsall receiving almost 200 reports.
It is believed scrap collectors are collecting fridges from homes and then unloading them on land after removing metal parts to sell on.
It comes after new rules from the Environment Agency came into force which state flammable insulating foam has to be removed before a fridge is taken to a tip. It means scrapyards will no longer accept whole fridges or freezers.
Among the worst affected areas is Walsall where the council said 117 fridges were found abandoned in July and 176 last month.
One street in the borough saw 26 fridges dumped within four days in August alone prompting a warning to fly-tippers that they will prosecuted. Council chiefs revealed in April that fly-tipping cost £140,000 in the past year.
Now the borough’s environmental crime officers have vowed to bring those responsible to justice and have urged householders to dispose of waste correctly at recycling centres.
In Wolverhampton environmental health officers have reported a significant rise in the number of fridges being dumped at various locations in the city with 70 found dumped last month.
Figures show that between May and August this year the council’s public realm services cleared away a total of 91 fridges at a cost of more than £100 per appliance to the taxpayer.
Wolverhampton’s cabinet member for city services Councillor John Reynolds said: “We are concerned about the rising number of fridges being illegally dumped across Wolverhampton.
“Fly-tipping is unsightly and, as well as making our city look a mess, clearing up costs the taxpayer thousands of pounds each year.
“Not only do discarded fridges make the area look untidy, they must also have the insulation foam removed before they can be recycled or scrapped to prevent the release of CFCs into the environment.
“We are urging anyone who witnesses such offences to contact us as soon as possible and we will not hesitate to take action against offenders who are caught blighting the city.”
Forty dumped fridges were reported in Cannock Chase in each of July and August while Lichfield District Council has removed 25 dumped fridges and freezers since the start of last month.
“There were 10 reports in Sandwell and the same number in Stafford, while Dudley Council collected 21.