Yesterday (November 17) Mark Group Limited of Leicester pleaded guilty at Worcester Magistrates Court to polluting the Barbourne Brook at Gheluvelt Park, Worcester.

The oil flowed in to the Barbourne Brook, through Gheluvelt Park and in to the River Severn.

But, the pond at Gheluvelt Park is home to a pair of swans and a large population of ducks, many of which were coated in oil.

The company was fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,563.53 plus a £15 victim fine.

Mark Group, a home insulation company, in November 2008 was in the process of closing down its depot at Northbrook Close in Barbourne.

For the Environment Agency, Sheila Abrahams told the court on November 14 the agency received calls about oil on the Barbourne Brook.

The source was traced to an outfall at Northbrook Close in Barbourne where the EA discovered staining on the yard of the group’s premises and on the road, consistent with someone washing down oil into the drains.

They found three road gullies containing substantial amounts of oil. The company claimed its employees unwittingly passed a redundant oil tank to some individuals who they presumed were from a company asked to pick up the tank.

The unidentified individuals dropped the tank while trying to load it on to a lorry, resulting in the oil spill, but there was no spill clean-up equipment on site.

In mitigation the firm apologised and said it had an unblemished record with no previous convictions since starting trading in 1974 and entered an early guilty plea.

Luke Walsh

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