A ‘grass thy neighbour’ scheme could see Rochdale residents who capture camera-phone evidence of fly-tipping rewarded with money off their council tax bills.

Under the controversial new policy informants will enjoy a discount if the images they provide lead to offenders being brought to book by the courts.

It was announced by environment chief Coun Neil Emmott, at Rochdale council’s annual budget setting meeting.

The ‘radical’ scheme - which will form a key part of  Labour’s manifesto for May’s local elections - was fully backed by council leader Allen Brett.

However, Lib Dem leader Andy Kelly said it could cause ‘paranoia’ and raised serious questions about civil liberties.

The Conservative group calls for more to be done to tackle fly-tipping and other offences - including spending money earmarked for trade union support on more CCTV cameras.

Flytipping on Ashworth Road, Heywood

However, Coun Emmott told the town hall meeting Labour realised fly-tipping was ‘a very important issue’ - but the difficulty often lay in identifying the perpetrators.

He said: “Yes, CCTV will help, but let me tell you something else this Labour group is going to do.

For, in our manifesto - that we are going put in front of the residents of this borough this year -  we have realised that in this day and age, with the growth of mobile phones, people also carry cameras around with them. 

“So, anybody who can provide photographic evidence of anyone fly-tipping in this borough we will offer them a reduction on their council tax if we can get a prosecution against somebody fly-tipping.”

Rubbish dumped in Farnworth Street, Heywood

Addressing Tory leader Coun Ashley Dearnley he added: “That’s real radical policies, Coun Dearnley, that’s real radical thinking. 

"And that’s why I think we should move forward with this.  All in all everything you have asked us to do, we are already doing.”

Coun Brett said the idea for the policy was sparked after reports from a community team of a car pulling up to fly-tip on a children’s playground. 

They had taken a picture of the rubbish, and were asked by council officers if they would be happy for it to be used as evidence if the offender could be traced.

Fly-tipping in Waterfold Lane, Heywood

But Lib Dem leader Andy Kelly said he had serious concerns over the scheme which he feared could pitch neighbour against neighbour.

He said: “I’m not particularly over-keen on more CCTV cameras up and down the country, checking on what we are doing up and down the country, but broadly speaking I am in favour of safer communities.

“I am however, slightly more concerned  about the paranoia that could be begotten by the introduction of a ‘grass your neighbour’ scheme.

“Taking out your mobile phone to catch your neighbour doing something is not very civil liberties as far as I’m concerned -  and I do worry that’s become incentivised, rather than just reporting that.”

The budget setting meeting also approved a council tax rise of 4.69pc, an inflationary rise for most fees and services and a £29,000 cuts to smoking cessation services.