Andrew Mark Bainbridge, the managing director and sole share-owner of Auckland Environmental Services (AES), was sentenced on 24 November at Teesside Crown Court after pleading guilty to waste offences.
The sentencing followed a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearing on 7 October, 2021, at which Bainbridge was handed a confiscation order for £807,000. He was told to repay the total sum of his current assets which amounts to £275,833.16 by 7 January 2022 or risk a default custodial sentence of 2 years and 6 months.
The Environment Agency (EA) said the remainder of the confiscation order would remain as a debt against the director “until it is satisfied”.
The EA began investigating the company, which is now in liquidation, in 2016 after it was found to be storing waste materials on site without an appropriate environmental permit.
This included waste that the company had purposefully misdescribed, allowing AES to dispose of the material at a lower rate of landfill tax.
The court found that Bainbridge had committed the offences deliberately and there had been a “major undermining of the regulatory regime as a result”.
Both AES and Bainbridge have previous convictions for environmental offences committed in 2013. In February 2015 the company and Bainbridge were convicted of operating without an environmental permit and fined £7,800 and £520 respectively.
Following his latest prosecution, Bainbridge received a 15-month custodial sentence suspended for two years for consenting to the unlawful deposits of waste by AES. He also received a 12-month custodial sentence suspended for two years for consenting to the making of false or misleading information by AES.
The two sentences will run concurrently.
Bainbridge was also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and perform a rehabilitation activity. He was disqualified from acting as a company director for six years.
EA spokesperson John Crowl said: “The savings were substantial. Between December 2014 and February 2016 approximately 3,510 tonnes of waste were deposited at the landfill site at a cost £9,055 when it should have cost £288,085.
“Further, by operating without an environmental permit, Bainbridge, through the company, sought to avoid complying with operating conditions that were necessary to protect the public and the environment from harm. This represented a further financial advantage to the company and further undermined legitimate local waste operators and jobs.”