Man handed suspended sentence after abandoning 5,000 tonnes of waste - The Evesham Observer

Man handed suspended sentence after abandoning 5,000 tonnes of waste

Evesham Editorial 17th Aug, 2017   0

A PERSHORE man has been handed a 12 month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to leaving 5,000 tonnes of waste in a building at the abandoned site of his former business.

Mark Smyth, 40, was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday following a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.

Smyth, who was the sole director of Arrow Gypsum Recycling Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching the company’s environmental permit condition and was found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice served by the Environment Agency.

The court heard that in early 2015, the Environment Agency received a report that gypsum waste was being stored outside the building that he rented at Crucible Business Park in Norton, Worcester.

The conditions of the environmental permit made it clear that waste must be stored within the building to avoid any risk to the environment.

After further investigations, the agency found Smyth had abandoned the site, leaving 29 tonnes of gypsum plasterboard outside the building and more than 5,000 tonnes inside the building.

Attempts were then made by Environment Agency officers to speak to Smyth about the permit breach and clearance of the material outside, but he failed to respond.

A formal enforcement notice was then served which required him to clear the waste he abandoned on the site. Smyth ignored the enforcement notice and claimed during the trial that he did not receive the notice.

The Environment Agency worked with the owners of the business park to clear the site at a cost of £450,000.

In summing up the trial, his Honour Judge Cole found the substantial clean up costs was a serious aggravating feature of the case. He also said it was clear that once the processing of the gypsum waste ceased and the building became full, Smyth should have stopped accepting the waste, but did not.

Judge Cole also found Smyth deliberately continued accepting waste, leading to the breach of the permit and ignored his responsibilities as the director of the company by leaving the waste on the site at considerable cost to the landowner.

In mitigation, Smyth said he intended to operate the business in line with the permit when he took over the business in 2013, but when the processing of the waste stopped; he had contracts that had to be honoured, so he carried on accepting the waste.

The 40-year-old was handed a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to the landowner and has been disqualified from acting as a company director for 7 years.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation, said: “Waste crime is a serious offence with tough penalties as it can damage the environment, blight local communities and undermine those who operate legally.

“This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action against anyone that fails to comply.”

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