ROCKINGHAM — A judge has ordered an arrest warrant for a man who for seven years has disregarded orders by the City of Rockingham to clean up an enormous pile of tires in his yard.
According to Inspections Superintendent Tim Combs, John McLaughlin has been cited repeatedly for breaking the city’s nuisance ordinance 92.002D regarding the buildup of flammable materials. The ordinance prohibits “any open place of concentration of combustible items such as mattresses, boxes, paper, automobile tires or tubes, garbage, trash, refuse, brush, old clothes, rags or any other combustible materials or objects of a like nature.”
Combs said McLaughlin’s most recent public-nuisance notice of violation came in May 2017, the latest of several citations since 2011.
“It became habitual,” Combs said, but added that McLaughlin said he had “learned his lesson” in a recent phone call with Combs. Combs said he went by the residence last week — after the arrest warrant had been issued — and the tires were “practically gone, but not all.”
“Any tires at all is a violation,” Combs said.
McLaughlin faces an unknown number of civil citations and a criminal charge of contempt of court for not appearing for his most recent court date last month, Combs said. Police have not yet apprehended McLaughlin, court records show.
City Attorney Benny Sharpe said McLaughlin 800 to 1,000 tires in his yard on Allen Street — off Skipper Street — that he apparently took from tire shops to use in business transactions. Sharpe did not explain how the business was supposed to work.
“They piled up on his house almost,” Sharpe said. “It’s a wood house. If those tires caught fire, the whole block would burn.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]