A man has been sentenced to two years in prison for operating a waste facility without a permit and other offences.
Russell Barratt, 50, of Maggot Farm, Stocking Lane, Knottingley has been sentenced by Leeds Crown Court to serve two years three months for handling stolen goods, a further six months for waste offences and another six months for operating without a permit.
The Environment Agency (EA) representative Robert Stevenson told the court how it had been investigating Barratt’s waste activity on Maggot since May 2011. He continued to tell the court that Barratt did not hold a permit, which is required to operate a waste facility. By ignoring these regulations Barratt had avoided costs of approximately £30,000 and by burning waste illegally, he had made considerable savings on the cost of waste.
Various scrap cars or end of life vehicles were found at his site. These are classed as hazardous waste if they have not had oils, fluids and lead acid batteries carefully removed.
In May 2011 investigators found black smoke coming from the site, then in July 2011 they visited again and found another larger fire in the compound. Officers concluded that plastic and tyres were being burned and the fire services were called to extinguish the fire. Between March, May and June this cost between £2,700 and £4,400 per fire.
The EA and West Yorkshire Police teamed up on 16 August 2011 to raid the site where Barratt was arrested. Officers found the large scrap yard to be in poor condition and evidence that vehicles were being dismantled and broken up without the right procedures.
Oils and fluids from the cars were leaking into the ground which was covered in black oily sludge and contaminated water. Officers confirmed that the soil was contaminated by diesel or oil.
When interviewed, Barratt denied the offences and any involvement with handling stolen goods. He said that he bought and sold vehicle parts and that the site was used by other people to store goods and that the stolen vehicles belonged to them.
The EA’s officer in charge of the investigation, Michael Griffith said: ”We take waste crime very seriously and will do all we can to prosecute those responsible for damaging the environment.
“We’ll continue to work with the police and other agencies to make sure people don’t profit from waste crime.”