A Hartlepool-based recycling company has been ordered to pay £15,000 in total for offences that included keeping a stockpile of approximately 128,000 used tyres.
Niramax Recycling and Manufacturing (NR&M), which is based at Mainsforth Terrace, Hartlepool was fined £2,500 for each of four tyre-related offences and ordered to pay £5,000 to the Environment Agency (EA) which brought the case.
Hartlepool Magistrates Court was told how the company had been storing, sorting and shredding tyres on its site since February 2002 without a waste management licence. Furthermore, its operations did not fall within the terms of an exemption which could allow for the storage of tyres.
An EA visit to the site on August 4 2005 found that an estimated 17,000 tyres were being stored along with around 850 cubic metres of tyre crumb, shredded and part shredded tyres and related equipment.
A notice was then served to remove these, but transfer notes showed that the company received a further 150 loads between August 4 and September 3 2005.
After safety concerns were expressed, a visit by local authority officials, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Cleveland Fire Brigade (CFB) found that its stockpile had increased to comprise a massive 128,000 tyres by March 2006.
An EA spokesman said: Waste management licences set out the conditions that waste firms must follow to prevent pollution. Niramax Recycling and Manufacturing failed to get a licence and continued to bring tyres into the Mainsforth Terrace site, against our repeated instructions.
The size of stockpiles eventually became a safety concern. Fortunately, pressure from our close working relationships with CFB, Hartlepool Borough Council and the HSE meant the operations were cleared before any incident occurred. The operation is now regulated at a nearby licensed facility.
The court had been told by Lee Fish who was prosecuting for the EA that NR&M had saved £4,370 by not being properly licensed between 2002 and 2006.