A waste operator has been given a suspended prison sentence after ignoring repeated warnings about illegal waste activities.
Following an investigation by the Environment Agency (EA), Christopher John Nash, 34, from County Durham, admitted two offences of operating a waste facility (pictured) without a permit. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service and to pay £2,500 in costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
On behalf of the EA, solicitor Simon Crowder told Peterlee magistrates that Nash, who runs Murton Recycling, used the site to dump and burn waste.
Nash was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to remove the remaining waste and remediate the site at Saanen Lodge, Haswell Plough, within 56 days. This includes re-seeding the burned areas.
In April 2014, EA officers saw large amounts of waste in the yard and a fire burning nearby, and Nash was advised to stop bringing waste to the site.
In July that year more waste and evidence of burning was seen at the site. Nash told officers he had been away and blamed those working for him.
Several visits in the following months saw fresh waste, including metal, sofas, carpet, paper and cardboard left at the site and, in October, Nash was interviewed by officers. He said he had had a reduction in staff numbers and was no longer taking waste at the site.
But further visits noted new waste deposits and evidence of burning. In April 2015, he agreed he had said he would clear the site of waste but his financial situation had made that difficult.
EA spokesman Dave Edwardson said: “Nash showed a disregard for environmental protection laws and continued to take in waste and burn it, even after numerous warnings from our officers.”