Prison sentences for waste offences

Three Environment Agency waste prosecutions resulted in jail sentences in August - relating to scrap tyres in Leeds, waste fats in Wakefield and an illegal waste disposal operation in south Wales.

The Leeds tyre dealer was sentenced to six months imprisonment by Leeds Crown Court on 17 August after admitting five charges involving the unlawful deposit and keeping of scrap tyres.

In 1999, Agency officers visited a unit in the Armley district of Leeds which was estimated to contain 6,000 scrap tyres. The unit was operating without a waste management licence. Investigations revealed that S&P Tyres, run by Stephen Poskitt, was operating at the unit.

In early 2000, residents in the Upper Wortley area of the city witnessed an S&P Tyres van dumping tyres on open land next to a school. On one occasion the van became stuck in the mud and Agency officers spoke to Mr Poskitt. On four occasions, the fire service had to tackle fires at the dump.

  • A Wakefield man was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay costs of £5,933 by Leeds Crown Court on 31 August after pleading guilty to five offences relating to the illegal storage and depositing of fats and oily wastes.

    Agency officers visited Christopher Balmforth's waste fats business, Magnum Oils, on numerous occasions in 1998. There were several hundred plastic tubs full of waste fats and oils collected from restaurants, supermarkets and takeaways. The yard cobbles were covered in rancid fat, and Mr Balmforth was seen washing out drums and allowing the waste to enter drains. The site was deserted and insecure on more than one occasion.

    Mr Balmforth was spoken to on numerous occasions and urged to obtain a site licence, to no avail. The court heard that the cost of obtaining a licence - £1,575 plus £1,625 per year, together with the cost of upgrading the site - would have been a small fraction of the revenue generated by the business.

  • An habitual waste offender was jailed for two months by Swansea Crown Court on 29 August.

    Kenneth Collier of Llansamlet had been found guilty at a hearing in June of two charges of unlawful waste disposal at his farm during 1999. He was sentenced to two months' custody for each offence, while the court also activated two months of a four-month suspended sentence that had been imposed for offences committed between 1994 and 1998. The sentences are to run concurrently.

    The court heard that Mr Collier had been convicted of a series of offences dating back to the late 1980s. The latest concerned the discovery of waste from a skip hire business at his farm, while a large quantity of waste, whose contents included oil and asbestos, was found buried. Land surrounding the farm is now contaminated and may be unfit for future agricultural use.

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