Illegal skip company and director fined

Derbyshire waste company Skip Jackson Ltd was found guilty at Derby magistrates court on 12 June of four charges of keeping waste illegally, contrary to sections 33(1)(b) and (6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The company, based near Ripley, was fined £40,000 plus costs of £4,308 but did not attend the hearing.

The court heard that on 31 January 2006, Environment Agency officers visited the company’s site to find skips full of waste including wood, plastic, concrete and demolition materials. The site’s soil was not sealed and no precautions had been taken to prevent pollution running off or leaching.

On 4 December 2006 Agency officers went back to the site with police officers, seizing company paperwork.

Skip Jackson changed its name to Cheap Skips Ltd on 2 April 2008 during the Agency’s investigation. But the prosecution continued unhindered.

Peter Rutherford from the Agency said: "Skip Jackson Ltd have been operating illegally, deceiving customers and undercutting legitimate businesses… The Agency will not hesitate to pursue a prosecution against companies who change their trading name during the course of an investigation."

The firm’s director Martin John Hudson was also charged at an earlier hearing with keeping waste illegally. Section 157 of the 1990 Act allows company directors and secretaries to be prosecuted if offences are carried out with their consent or connivance, or through their neglect.

Derby magistrates found Hudson guilty on four charges on 1 May. He was ordered to pay compensation to the Agency of £5,000 plus £4,308 in legal costs, given a five-month suspended prison sentence, ordered to do 250 hours community service and tagged under a curfew order for six months.

An Agency investigating officer said: "Martin Hudson continued to operate Cheap Skips illegally... This is not his first offence and the sentence… reflects this. We hope this sends a clear message that businesses must operate within the law in order to protect the local environment."

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