Russell Barratt, aged 50, of Maggot Farm in Knottingley, was given an immediate custodial sentence of two years and three months by Leeds Crown Court, for three offences of handling stolen goods.

These included operating a waste facility without a permit and possessing criminal property. The charge for the waste offence was brought by the Environment Agency, with the remainder brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The court heard how the Environment Agency had been investigating waste activities that Barratt ran at Maggot Farm in Knottingley since May 2011. The farm is 200m from the River Aire and next to a nature reserve.

The court was that Barratt did not hold an environmental permit and by ignoring the regulations and burning waste illegally, had avoided disposal costs of approximately £30,000.

Many scrap cars were also found at his site. When Environment Agency officers carried out surveillance of the site during 2011 they saw fires and black smoke coming from the compound.

Oils and fluids from the cars were also leaking into the ground, along with areas where waste had been burnt and materials piled up ready to be burnt.

The ground across the site was extensively contaminated with black oily sludge, and pools of contaminated water. A trailer, tanker and potato harvester which had all been reported as stolen, were also found at the site. Barratt had consistently denied the offences when confronted.

Maxine Perella

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