Suspended sentence for handling illegal waste

The owner of a Reading skip hire business that took waste without the proper licences has been electronically tagged and put under curfew, given a six month suspended sentence and ordered to pay costs of £6,000.

His son, also involved in the business, was given a 200 hour community service order.

Leslie Tucker Dunn (Senior) and Leslie Thomas Dunn (Junior) of The Willows, The Copse, Eversley Road, Arborfield Cross, Reading pleaded guilty on the 11 January 2010 at Oxford Crown Court to depositing controlled waste without a Waste Management Licence.

The Dunn’s ran a series of businesses from the site including a skip hire business called – “Talking Rubbish” – and received waste ranging from wood, plastics, cardboard, rubber, polystyrene and soil between January and July 2008.

Environment Agency officers regularly attended the site and saw waste being handled on many occasions but, despite the repeated requests to stop the unlawful activity, the Dunns continued their unlawful activities.

To legitimately bring such waste onto the site and deal with it, the owners needed planning permission and a relevant waste management licence or environmental permit.

The judge told the defendants that the offences must be viewed against a “backdrop of sustained enforcement action by the Environment Agency”, and congratulated the efforts of the Environment Agency in its sustained investigation despite efforts by the defendants to derail it.

The court heard how Dunn (Senior) wrote to the Environment Agency in a statement claiming that he no longer ran the business at the site due to ill-health and it was his sons who ran the business. At court it was submitted on his behalf that he advised the business and also assisted when required. He was caught on CCTV driving a lorry to a landfill run by another company.

The court was also told that in December 2007 Mr Dunn senior was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £6,000 after pleading guilty on a previous date at Reading Magistrates’ Court to six offences of breaching the conditions of his scrap metal waste management licence and also bringing non scrap metal waste onto the site without a waste management licence.

Environment officer Gill May said: “The company ignored repeated warnings to stop the handling and treatment of non scrap metal waste without a waste management licence or later an Environmental Permit.

“A waste management licence or an Environmental Permit would impose controls designed to protect the environment and those living in the local area. Companies operating illegally and who also avoid the costs of measures to protect the environment gain a commercial advantage over those companies operating legally.”

“We are pleased the court has deemed this a serious case by handing out a suspended sentence and a community service order.

“Waste company operators must ensure that they comply with the regulations and operate within the conditions of their permits so that they are not harming the environment or breaking the law.

Sam Bond

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