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MEMPHIS, Tenn.– A Raleigh church continues to deal with issues of illegal dumping from a nearby neighborhood, but this time they are being threatened with legal action.

James Holmes, the pastor at Egypt Baptist Church, said he spends 20 to 30 hours of his own time each week trying to clean up the property. But he blames people from a nearby neighborhood for dumping their trash there, adding the county doesn’t offer trash pickup. 

Now, the church is being held responsible and he is being forced to appear in court. They received a summons citing the church for “failing to maintain” the property. 

“I feel like we’ve been issued a summons to court for someone else’s illegal dumping activity when it’s really out of our hands,” Holmes said.

One would think people would find a $2,500 fine or jail time threatening, but that’s clearly not the case. Just 20 feet up the road there are mattresses, garbage, furniture, and even a toilet bowl.

The church says they’re not sure how they’re supposed to stop people from dumping.

“You can see how deep this ditch is, how steep. There’s no way you can put a fence here unless you put it on the road and that would be a hazard,” Holmes said.

They’ve tried to gate the area and the city even installed cameras to catch the culprits, but despite a few citations, it hasn’t helped the issue. 

So for now, Holmes says he’s at a loss and hopes the city will show some compassion when he appears in court on Monday. 

“There’s really not much that we can do in our situation other than what we’re already doing, and it would be nice if the city and the county could coordinate efforts to control this,” he said.

We were told city ordinance states property owners are responsible for securing their property and in a case of illegal dumping it is up to them to clean it up.