First Agency prosecution for threatening behaviour

The Environment Agency has brought its first prosecution for threatening behaviour as a result of investigations into a skip hire business.

Appearing before Basildon magistrates on 4 December, David Riches was fined £150 for using "threatening, abusive and insulting words and behaviour within the hearing and sight" of an Agency officer "causing harassment, alarm or distress", contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. In August 2002, Agency officers visited a farm near Basildon in Essex which was used by Mr Riches' skip hire business. Although the site did not have a waste management licence, waste was being handled on the premises. Mr Riches was told to stop handling waste until he obtained a licence. In May 2003, an Agency officer saw smoke coming from the farm and found waste being burned in a skip. The officer told the court that Mr Riches approached him and said "that he would 'do' me and that other bastard from the Agency." Mr Riches was also fined £5,000 for depositing and burning waste without a licence, contrary to section 33(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. He was also ordered to pay £3,245 costs.

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