Shirley man gets town fines for boat dumping


It’s gonna cost you dearly if you illegally dump.

On Feb. 29, Timothy Hughes of Shirley, who was charged with illegally dumping a 24-foot boat in the Pine Barrens in Manorville earlier in the month, pled guilty in Suffolk County’s 6th District Court in Patchogue. Hughes will pay a $5,000 fine and $1,300 for the cleanup.

Assistant Brookhaven town attorney John Doyle related the town’s process that targeted Hughes; the boat was dumped off Exit 69 on the Long Island Expressway, he said.

“The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department responded first when it was notified by the Pine Barrens Commissions, which has cameras in the woods and gave them access to the video. There’s a camera there because it’s a known dumping ground. There’s a pavement leading to the rural area and this particular road also leads to a power grid.”

Assistant chief deputy sheriff Michael Smith explained their role.

“We have a Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council; it’s a 26- member agency that participates,” Smith said. “The task force enforces state and county regulations in the Pine Barrens—that is, dumping, encroaching, clearing, any violation in the Pine Barrens. The Pine Barrens Enforcement and Compliance team has various cameras throughout the Pine Barrens and our common dumping spots are patrolled regularly. Some report to computers and the footage comes off the still image. Depending on where it is, one of the officers will typically follow up. You can approach the person responsible with the picture in hand.”

Doyle said there were also calls from passersby who noticed the boat.

Dumping incidents in the woods are more common than they should be, Doyle said.  Also, in the wetlands.

“We have cameras there, too,” he said.

“Some people dump yard waste, some construction debris. We upped the fines in 2022 in the town sanitation code. The fine now is a minimum of $2,000 in the Pine Barrens.”

Just recently, Suffolk County raised fines for dumping on public lands: $15,000 for individuals; $25,000 for corporations. Whistleblowers are awarded more also—a third of the fine amount.

Doyle credited the Sheriff’s Office. “It was their hard work that broke the case,” he said. “We prosecuted it, and we try to keep those communication lines open.”

Boats of all sizes including paddle boats, old cars, trucks, refrigerators, and mattresses are not uncommon finds, he said.

The boat was picked up and disposed of. “Hughes surrendered himself to the sheriff,” Doyle pointed out. “The cleanup and fines are worked out typically in district court,” he said. “They give you six weeks to pay from the conviction and can come to the window of the courthouse.

“People now know that it’s an expensive crime.  There are all sorts of legal ways to dispose of items legally.”