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23 months for justice

Law enforcers are rejoicing after a firm they were chasing for two years over an illegal scrap metal site was hit with almost £30,000 of punishment.

The Environment Agency (EA) first wrote to North Butte Metal Company about its unlicensed premises in east London in May 2003.

Twenty-three months, 13 inspection visits and one formal cessation notice later, the firm was brought to justice at Walthamstow Magistrates' Court last week.

North Butte Metal Company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs, while director Richard Austin Smyth was fined £7,000.

EA enforcement officer Rob Argent said: "We are pleased the court has imposed these fines.

"We gave North Butte Metal Company's management ample opportunity and time to comply with the law, but they chose to ignore our advice and instructions, and have ended up paying the consequences."

The firm's Leyton site did not have a waste management licence, and was not run according to environmental laws.

Cars were stacked 5 metres high on unsuitable surfaces, tyres were spilling out of a shed and a machine was leaking hydraulic oil.

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