Assets frozen in waste crime case

Powers more often used against drug dealers and career criminals have been exercised to freeze the assets of a Bradford man convicted of illegally dumping asbestos and excavation waste while the authorities investigate how much money he made from the activity.

William John Peter Reidy, 60, was prosecuted by the Environment Agency after an investigation of his business, Space Making Development, uncovered the fact that he was being paid to dispose of waste from companies across Yorkshire without holding the appropriate lincence, designed to give assurances that the waste would be disposed of in an appropriate manner.

Officers from the Environment Agency carried out surveillance on the site and estimated that a total of 200 lorry loads of waste had been illegally dumped. A skip containing asbestos sheeting was also discovered, for which the business did not hold a licence.

Mr Reidy was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment of each of four charges relating to the keeping and depositing of waste, including asbestos. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, as were further sentences of three months for each of nine further waste charges.

The Assets Recovery Agency, which can confiscate the proceeds of crime, is investigating whether or not the defendants have profited from their illegal activities and will seek to recover assets equal to a value of the cash made from them.

“We are determined to recover the proceeds from all types of illegal activity, including illegal dumping and fly-tipping which, as well as damaging the environment, poses a risk to human health,” said the ARA’s Alan McQuillan

“This restraint order will prevent the disposal of the assets belonging to Mr Reidy while we continue with our investigation to establish the full scale of the benefit obtained from this criminal conduct, thus assisting the court to make any appropriate confiscation orders.

“The restraint and any confiscation of assets sends a clear message to others involved in illegal activities that we are dedicated to recover the proceeds of illegal activities and that crime does not pay.”

Paul Salter, environmental crime officer at the Environment Agency, said: “This is the first time that assets have been seized in a case like this and shows that businesses cannot get away with putting profits before the environment and human health – as this case shows.

“If you are an offender, we will track you down and take you to court. We can then refer the case to the Assets Recovery Agency which will endeavour to confiscate any monies and assets made from these ill-gotten gains.

“Demolition contractors must take their responsibilities seriously as people will not put up with them blighting our towns and countryside.”

David Gibbs

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