Two jailed for construction waste crimesBeat The Cowboy Builder
Two Doncaster men have been jailed for running illegal waste dumping operations on an industrial scale, with construction waste being dumped including asbestos.
They dumped nearly 200,000 tonnes of material on their sites, totally illegally.
The construction waste crimes relate to dumping that occurred between 2008 and 2010 at Middleton Quarry, Pollington and then at Wroot Road, Doncaster.
Phillip Slingsby, aged 42, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, ordered to pay £20,000 towards prosecution costs and was disqualified as a director for six years. He was also subject to a £200,000 confiscation order. No separate penalties were imposed on his associated companies Slingsby Plant Hire Ltd and Slingsby Quarries Ltd as one of them has been dissolved and the other is in liquidation.
Robert Spencer, aged 63, was sentenced to nine months, suspended for two years and ordered to re-pay £20,000 from the proceeds of his crimes.
The Environment Agency, which brought the prosecution, said it was a complex investigation involving support from the Insolvency Service and its own in-house accredited financial investigators to secure orders under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.
Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Counsel Mr Christopher Stables told Hull Crown Court that between December 2008 and April 2009, officers from the Environment Agency visited Middleton Quarr in Pollington and watched tipping taking place on a large scale. The quarry had no permit for this and could not have got one because drinking water was abstracted from three nearby boreholes.
Following initial discussions with Mr Slingsby about concerns over the activities taking place, a surveillance operation took place. Officers observed waste being tipped and levelled on an industrial scale. The waste comprised of wood, vegetation, plastics, asbestos sheeting and other non-inert waste. Sample testing results revealed the presence of chrysotile asbestos and asbestos fibres. The nature of the waste tipped posed a significant pollution risk to the nearby water sources.
In total 127,000 tonnes of waste were deposited at Middleton Quarry. Lawful disposal would have cost more than £440,000.
Mr Slingsby then moved his dumping operations to 36 Acre Field, Wroot Road, Doncaster, a site owned by Mr Robert Spencer. Between January 2009 and October 2009 Robert Spencer allowed Phillip Slingsby to tip thousands of tonnes of waste on his land when there was no environmental permit in force. Here too it is unlikely that a permit would ever have been granted due, the Environment Agency said, to the proximity of water sources, the potential risks posed to ground water and the lack of planning permission.
In September 2009, Environment Agency officers watched tipping taking place at Wroot Road. They told Mr Spencer that this tipping was illegal and should stop immediately. Further warnings were given and followed up in writing. Mr Spencer claimed that Phillip Slingsby was responsible for the deposit of the waste.
Further visits to the site revealed evidence that a large hole had been dug and filled with waste. The waste included brick, rubble, soil, plastics and green waste, metal, wood and tyres.
In October 2010 the Environment Agency raided the Wroot Road site. A series of ‘trial pits’ were dug at the site from which samples confirmed the presence of asbestos on site. Waste transfer notes and invoices seized suggested that the defendants made considerable financial gains from operating the site without the benefit of an environmental permit and handling the waste incorrectly.
In total around 72,000 tonnes of waste was deposited at Wroot Road.
In passing sentence, His Honour Judge Jack said that the defendants had “put the public at serious risk”.
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said: “This was a large scale waste operation where the defendants allowed waste to be brought onto land without being permitted to do so. Illegal waste sites have the potential to cause serious pollution incidents or harm human health, and this prosecution demonstrates that we take waste crime very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute if necessary, to protect the environment and local communities.”