A Northamptonshire man, who was jailed in January, after a decade of waste offences was ordered this week to pay £12,500 in costs and £140 in victim surcharge
In addition, he was given a remediation order to clear the land where the offences took place by January 2022. This could, according to the Environment Agency, cost a further £750,000.
It follows a hearing earlier this year that saw Stephen Lack, 68, of Monkton Sidings, Corby, given an 18 month prison sentence. He pleaded guilty to breaching environmental laws over a lengthy period of time.
Lack, trading under the name Abbey Skips, had repeatedly stockpiled waste on a site at Monkton Sidings, Fineshade. He did not have the necessary permits that would have ensured precautions were taken to protect people and nature from harm.
Here he burned and buried waste rather than disposing of it lawfully at authorised waste sites. These actions risked contaminating nearby woods and farmland, caused odours and toxic smoke, and could have attracted large quantities of flies and vermin.
Lack had been given a six-month suspended sentence in 2019 for disregarding the law, despite being warned repeatedly by Environment Agency officers about his activities. However, his illegal burning activities increased during lockdown, in breach of his bail condition, leading to his subsequent prosecution and imprisonment.
Yvonne Daly, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
It’s our job to regulate waste activity to make sure it doesn’t put people or the environment at risk.
This case is a shocking example of an individual driven by profit blatantly ignoring their responsibilities. He put people and nature in harm’s way and attempted to undercut legitimate businesses.
The custodial sentence along with significant costs reflects the seriousness of the crime. We hope it serves as a warning to others. We won’t hesitate to take action against those flout the rules.
Anyone who suspects illegal waste activity is reminded to report it to our 24-hour hotline by calling 0800 80 70 60, or anonymously contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Last year, the Environment Agency and partners launched the Joint Unit for Waste Crime, aiming to stop serious and organised crime in the UK Waste Industry. You can find out more about the initiative on our website.