Businessman jailed for running three illegal waste sites
Published: 20 Mar 2019

Following an Environment Agency prosecution at Worcester Crown Court this month, a businessman pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the illegal operation of waste sites.

The defendant was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years and ordered to pay £30,000 costs.

The businessman operated under the trading names of UKBF Group Ltd and Plastics Recycling Ltd, at the car park for Smethwick Drop Forge Ltd (SDF), land and units at the Gemini Business Park (GEMINI), and Cherry Tree Farm in Stanford Bridge.

The defendant deliberately and over a prolonged period, accepted waste onto each of the three sites. He did so without the necessary environmental permits and in breach of the registered waste exemptions required to ensure there was no risk to human health or to the environment.

He avoided costs relating to the waste activity and failed to produce waste records as required by law, with well known companies as customers.

When Environment Agency officers visited the sites, they found large amounts of assorted types of waste, including hazardous waste, being illegally stored and treated.

Large quantities of plastics contaminated with dairy and wine products were found at the GEMINI and SDF sites, with no measures in place to prevent the liquids from polluting the nearby canal and River Severn. The quantities found could have caused significant harm to the environment, including to fish and invertebrates.

Complaints were received by the Environment Agency about rat, fly and odour problems at the GEMINI site caused by large amounts of food waste waiting, being stored and processed on site. The SDF and GEMINI sites were also deemed to be at high risk of fire by a Fire Community Risk Manager.

Following warnings and an enforcement notice being issued, the defendant gave Environment Agency officers repeated assurances that he would remove the high risk waste types and apply for the necessary Environmental Permit. Waste was moved between the SDF and GEMINI sites, and when the defendant was evicted from the GEMINI site, it was then moved to Cherry Tree Farm.

The defendant eventually abandoned the waste filled sites. The landowners are continuing to work with the Environment Agency, and the companies from where the waste originated, to clear the site.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency spokesperson 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 to ensure the protection of the environment and avoid harm to health. Businesses can support us with this by carrying out their Duty of Care and Due Diligence checks to ensure that they are using legitimate companies to deal with their wastes and not criminals...".