Local authorities have been urged to take fly-tipping seriously as new figures reveal Hastings saw the second-highest rate in Sussex.
Hastings came below only Brighton and Hove with 1,886 reports of fly-tipping in 2017/18, according to data from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Brighton and Hove recorded 2,348 incidents with Crawley in third with 1,093 incidents in the same time frame.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is now urging local authorities to take the issue more seriously.
CLA South East regional director Robin Edwards said: “There were nearly one million cases of fly-tipping recorded by local authorities in 2017/18, though the true figures are likely to be significantly higher as predominantly the statistics do not include incidents on private land, where the landowner has responsibility to oversee the clearance and cost for waste removal. The CLA estimates it costs a farmer or landowner an average of £844 to clear up each incident, while the environmental damage can be considerable.
“We appreciate that councils have budgetary pressures, but failing to tackle the menace of fly-tipping could ultimately make their financial situations worse if it means they end up facing increased clean-ups costs dealing with more dumped rubbish.
“The message needs to be sent loud and clear that dumping waste will not be tolerated, and those who do it will be prosecuted.
“Imposing and enforcing stiffer penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime is crucial, along with seizing the vehicles used to fly-tip.”
Fly-tipping incidents in England have risen to almost one million in 2017/18, according to the CLA.
Ministers introduced new sentencing guidelines in 2014, with a £50,000 fine or 12 months in prison the maximum punishment, the CLA added.
However, analysis by the Local Government Association revealed that no one convicted of fly-tipping since the Government introduced new guidelines in 2014 has faced the maximum £50,000 fine or 12 months in prison by the courts.