A landowner received a suspended jail term and £100,000 costs for illegally dumping tens of thousands of tonnes of waste along with two others.
Eric Hale, of Bank Top Farm, near Frodsham , was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years, disqualified from driving for 12 months, ordered to work 200 hours unpaid and must abide by a curfew of 8pm to 6am for three months.
This was after pleading guilty to operating an illegal waste site at the farm without an environmental permit and dumping and landfilling controlled waste on the land.
Hale has also paid £100,000 in contributions towards the costs incurred by the Environment Agency (EA) who prosecuted the case at Chester Crown Court .
Dennis Whiting and Steffan Street each received a conditional discharge for two years after pleading guilty to dumping and landfilling controlled waste.
The EA brought the case against the trio following a lengthy investigation.
Investigators identified significant amounts of waste were being brought on to the farm, which did not have an environmental permit. The Environment Agency discovered the operation of the illegal site was closely connected with waste company Eric Hale Skip Hire Ltd.
Prosecutors proved the majority of waste collected by the company was illegally dumped and landfilled at Bank Top Farm instead of being taken to a legitimate waste site.
Tracey Rimmer, area environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This operation demonstrates how the Environment Agency works in partnership to tackle serious waste crime. We have worked closely with the police and local authorities to pursue these criminals and bring them to justice. Waste crime is a serious issue diverting as much as £1 billion per year from legitimate business and the treasury.”
During the course of the investigation, Eric Hale, Steffan Street and Dennis Whiting were seen driving large waste vehicles which delivered, deposited and disposed of mixed waste, demolition waste including plasterboard and other waste including carpets and mattresses.
Trommel fines, which are a by-product produced during the recycling process and consist of materials such as wood, aggregate, glass, ceramics and organics, were also dumped at Bank Top Farm. The unregulated deposit of waste has the potential to cause harm to the environment.
Passing sentence, Judge Simon Berkson said “Eric Hale was driven by greed to continue the illegal operation.”
The EA said the court did not accept any of the mitigation for the offending put forward but Eric Hale’s personal circumstances were acknowledged.
An EA spokesperson said: “Waste crime can cause serious pollution to the environment, put communities at risk and undermines legitimate business and the investment and economic growth that go with it.”
If you see waste crime report it to the Environment Agency by calling their incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
You can call the Environment Agency on 0370 850 6506 to find out how to responsibly manage any waste your business produces or visit the website by clicking here .