Illegal dumpers are risking hefty fines by turfing out their unwanted junk in bushland and on Wollongong City Council property.
Dumping hot spots have been given a workout over the festive period, giving council staff a messy start to the new year, acting regulation and enforcement manager Garry Meusburger said.
"We always have illegal dumping, it's a consistent thing," he said.
"Probably around the Christmas period it gets a bit worse because people tend to be impatient and want to get rid of any rubbish they've got and look for the easiest option, and sometimes that's dumping rubbish."
Secluded sites at Mt Keira, Mt Kembla and Kembla Grange are among the most common illegal dumping grounds.
Mr Meusburger said the dumping was completely unnecessary and the source of constant frustration for council staff.
Twice a year residents could book a free kerbside clean-up, which will take away commonly dumped items such as mattresses, televisions, small furniture and children's toys, Mr Meusburger said.
"They are all things that you see that are dumped at various places and it ends up costing council a lot of money and it's just unnecessary," he said.
Mr Meusburger also had some bad news for anyone who thought they could dump without consequence.
"We've issued 24 fines in the last few months that relate to littering and dumping issues," he said.
"We're continually out there and trying to find new ways to make the investigations easier and more reliable and actually catch some of these people that are currently getting away with it," he said.
Anyone who spots someone dumping illegally should take down the registration number, vehicle type and details of the driver, Mr Meusburger said.
Fines ranged from $60 for small littering offences up to $1 million for court imposed fines.
Mr Meusburger said last year a man caught dumping a mattress was fined more than $3000 at the Wollongong Local Court.
'It would have been free if he had used the kerbside service," he said.
Visit www.wollongong.nsw. gov.au for more information on the free collection service.
Call 4227 7111 to report illegal dumping.