Couple ordered to pay £180,000 for waste offences

The owners of a Welsh skip company face prison unless they comply with an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act

Natural Resource Wales said the crimes had been 'financially motivated'. Photograph: Natural Resources WalesA husband and wife who ran a waste site without a permit will be sent to jail if they do not pay back £180,000. On 15 April at Swansea Crown Court William Charles was ordered to pay £148,000 and Susan Charles £32,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mr and Mrs Charles owned Sospan Skips Limited, based on a farm in Llanelli, Wales. They were convicted in December of operating a regulated facility without an environmental permit from 2009 to 2014, contrary to regulations 38(1) and 12(1) of the environmental permitting (England and Wales) regulations 2007.

Having admitted the crimes, William Charles was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work. Susan Charles was given a conditional discharge.

Under the new ruling, the couple were told that if they do not pay within three months Mr Charles faces 12 months in prison and Susan Charles six months. They were also ordered each to pay £10,000 in prosecution costs over the next two years.

Judge Paul Thomas told the defendants: "You are aware of the figures — they have to be paid within three months so you need to get on with it."

Meanwhile, the company was given a two-year conditional discharge. This means that if it is now sold, any further infractions it causes could see it being re-sentenced for the current offences as well as any new offences.

After the hearing, Lyn Richards, environmental crime team leader for Natural Resources Wales, said the "motivation behind the crime was financial". She added: "Disposing of waste illegally can harm the environment and undermines businesses that invest in the required measures.”

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