One scrap merchant's three-month protest ended this week after the Environment Agency (EA) threatened it with court action.
Cornwall-based WH Orchard was one of several scrap merchants in the South West that had withheld payment on its waste management license fee in protest at illegal vehicle recyclers plaguing the local scrap market (see mrw story).
After three warnings from the EA since failing to pay in April, the company were faced with either paying this week or clashing head to head with the EA in court.
Commenting on his decision to finally cough up the fee, WH Orchard director Graham Orchard said: "We only withheld the money as a protest to see how long we could get away with it.
"However, judging by the small fines normally handed out to offenders, we would probably have been better off going to court."
Orchard was unrepentant, adding that apart from fining him, nothing had been done by the EA to stop the illegal treatment of End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) in his area.
He added: "We don't mid a bit of competition as long as they're doing the job properly, not with a hammer and chisel.
"If I had known the ELV regulations weren't going to be enforced, I wouldn't have spent £55,000 on becoming an Approved Treatment Facility."