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Landowner allowed medical waste to be dumped on Essex farmland

A landowner who allowed medical items to be dumped on farmland without an environmental permit is awaiting sentence in the crown court.

The Environment Agency (EA) has reported that a lagoon at Little Tressells Farm, Margaretting, Essex was filled with shredded plastic, fragments of plastic and rubber tubes, syringe casings and cardboard drug packets.

According to Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecuting for the EA, landowner Neil John Spooner claimed he had asked for stony material to be tipped on his land to make a paddock track. He said he was away for part of the time material was being delivered, and claimed not to know that three unnamed men were dumping medical waste.

EA officers had visited the farm on 10 January 2012 and saw a large lorry tipping fine material. Spooner was told it was illegal to deposit waste without a permit and had to clear the waste within six weeks.

Three subsequent visits showed no change in the waste on the site, until the final day when a small amount of waste had been cleared, but not enough.

Spooner said he had been quoted up to £500,000 to clear the rubbish and his house had been devalued by £1.5m. He was made bankrupt in January 2013.

He admitted two offences and was sent to Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing on 18 July.

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