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Jail and £330,000 bill for illegal waste operator

A commercial wood waste site operator has been given a nine-month prison sentence and ordered to pay £330,000 for illegal wood waste activity.

Christopher Roy Theaker of Mansfield was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court after pleading guilty to four charges at an earlier hearing. The charges were brought by the Environment Agency (EA) after illegal operations were shut down at one site,m only to re-start at another.

The court heard that between June 2010 and October 2011, Theaker operated four separate commercial wood waste sites under the company name Theaker Recycling at:

  • Sheepbridge Lane in Mansfield
  • Effingham Road and Claywheels Lane in Sheffield
  • Station Road in Ecclesfield near Sheffield

There were no environmental permits for any of the sites or the wood storage and chipping activities taking place. Theaker also breached exemptions that had been registered to allow certain waste activities.

At Sheepbridge Lane, the company was processing inappropriate wood types. After EA warnings were ignored, the EA revoked exemptions for the site. The activities ceased shortly afterwards.

Later, Theaker started similar operations at Effingham Road. The EA said he ignored further advice on how to legitimise his business. After complaints from local businesses about dust, a notice was served to clear the site of waste by 15 November 2010.  Later in the month the site was no longer operating.

Theaker then restarted illegal operations including contaminated waste wood at Claywheels Lane until he was instructed to cease operating and the site was shut down in April 2011.

Officers then noticed similar activities at a fourth site at Ecclesfield with large deposits of wood waste. The site was cleared of wood waste in October 2011 after officers identified the activities.

Judge Watson QC said the operations created a significant risk of harm in the form of dust pollution and offences had been committed despite warnings from the EA. He said Theaker had demonstrated a prolonged, systematic disregard for the regulations with a view to profit.

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