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Penzance Businessman Ordered to Pay £54,900 for Waste Crimes

POCA hearing orders Michael William Leah to pay £54,900. Sum to be paid within three months. When he was convicted of six offences in 2011 he paid only £100

Penzance Businessman Ordered to Pay £54,900 for Waste Crimes
Penzance Businessman Ordered to Pay £54,900 for Waste Crimes

A Penzance businessman has been ordered to pay £54,900 for crimes he was convicted of 12 years ago, after he previously had paid only £100 in recompense.

Michael William Leah, 59, of Blue Horizon, Castle Gate, Ludgvan, near Penzance, appeared before Truro Crown Court on Friday, in a case brought by the Environment Agency under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He was ordered to pay £49,900 for a confiscation order, plus £5,000 in costs. The sum has to be paid within three months, otherwise he will be sent to prison for 12 months.

The court heard that in August 2011, Leah was convicted of six offences related to illegally depositing controlled waste at sites near Newbridge, Gweek and in St Ives, for which he received a suspended prison sentence and made subject to a confiscation order. Though he had made £50,000 through his crimes, at the time of his conviction he was bankrupt and had only £100 to his name and was ordered to pay that in recompense.

Since then, he has inherited a property and his case was brought back to court last week following an investigation by the Environment Agency’s Economic Crime Unit for reconsideration of the confiscation order. Leah maintained that his home was owned by a trust, but a paper trail showed that he was a trustee of that trust, with access to more than £700,000 in assets.

Now running a haulage company, Leah’s three main contracts are worth over £200,000 and he owns vehicles worth a total of nearly £60,000.

Following the hearing Ashley Davies of the Environment Agency said:

This case shows that criminals who think they have got off lightly can think again. We’ll still come after them if their fortunes change.


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