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Illegal waste operator given suspended prison sentence

The director of a skip hire company in the Midlands has received a suspended prison sentence of 12 months after pleading guilty to running two illegal waste sites in Oldbury.

Balwant Singh Baghria was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years. His son, Ranbar Singh, was jailed for 18 months for his part in the illegal activities earlier this year. Another director of Langley Skip Hire (Midlands), Reginald Baldwin, received a six-month suspended sentence.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency (EA) under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The EA told the court that between July 2010 and July 2012 the defendants engaged in large scale, commercial tipping operations at two sites in Oldbury. 

Substantial amounts of waste were deposited at The Yard, Nelson Street and Butler’s Yard, Parsonage Street in Oldbury. Initially, the Nelson Street site operated as a fully permitted facility with an environmental permit in place. However, over a period of time, stored waste was above the maximum capacities. Waste was also deposited illegally on Butler’s Yard where there was no environmental permit in force.

Despite interventions from the EA, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Sandwell Council, operations continued. A prohibition notice from the HSE in July 2011 and stop notices by Sandwell in March and December 2011 did not deter the defendants from continuing to deposit waste at both sites.

David Hudson, environment manager at the EA said: “In the past few months, we have seen a marked toughening in sentences passed by the courts. Many have led to prison sentences. As well as causing nuisance to local residents these cases leave financial victims where landowners foot the bill for clearing the sites. We are increasingly using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to trace the money made by their illegal trade and to make polluters pay for their actions.”

The financial gain made by Balwant Singh Baghria and Ranbir Singhin in operating and disposal costs alone is calculated to be in the region of £230,000 and a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is now expected.

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