The Environment Agency (EA) has proved it means business in its drive to stamp out waste crime, with a Ferrybridge man sentenced to eight months imprisonment.
Selby magistrates imposed the sentence on Jonathan Crossland, 34 after he pleaded guilty to 14 waste charges, including the unlicensed disposal and keeping of waste.
Prosecuting on behalf of the EA, Trevor Cooper said: “By dumping waste on unlicensed land, Crossland had avoided the costs of a waste management licence. The licence fee would have been £1,700 with other fees of approximately £1,800 a year, plus additional costs in order to get the site up to standard.
Concerns were initially raised when witnesses reported several cases of waste being dumped, stored and burnt at the site. On more than one occasion the fire brigade attended to put out fires, with thick clouds of smoke seriously reducing visibility on the A63.
Asbestos and paint thinners were also found, while mixed waste such as old furniture, plastics and treated wood had been burnt in a manner which created fumes that added to air pollution.
The magistrate said: “Crossland has substantially benefited financially by his activities. He has also been fined previously the sum of £10,000 and has paid little of it. His actions caused serious environmental concerns and endangered public safety.
“For these reasons, the magistrates felt that a non-custodial sentence could not be justified, and would not stop Crossland from re-offending.”
In mitigation it was said that he had buried his head in the sand and ignored the environmental regulations. Crossland was also ordered to pay full costs of £4,171 to the EA who brought the case and compensation of £560 to the fire brigade.