A serious waste crime reoffender has been ordered to pay back £116,101 and was sentenced to a two year conditional discharge, following a four-year investigation by the Environment Agency (EA).
Owen Baguley pleaded guilty to eight offences for running illegal waste sites in and around the Blackpool area. If he fails to pay the money within six months, Baguley will be automatically sentenced to two years and three months in prison.
The materials stored on the site were of a hazardous nature, increasing the risk to the environment and human health.
Despite previous convictions and warnings from EA officers, Baguley had continued to store waste illegally, while benefitting from it financially. The EA therefore took firm action to end the illegal activity under the Proceeds of Crime Act, working with the Serious Organised Crime Agency, local authorities and the police.
EA environment manager Andy Brown said: “The EA works hard to protect and improve the environment. Sites such as those owned and operated by Mr Baguley that don’t have a valid permit in place have the potential to cause serious harm to the environment, as well as undercutting other legitimate businesses who operate legally nearby.
“The result achieved in court from this case sends out a clear message to anyone involved in environmental crime that waste crime is a serious crime, and that the Environment Agency has the powers to bring these criminals to justice.”
One of the sites Baguley used was located in Roseway and Springdale where a large number of skips containing construction waste, some with broken asbestos, were found. There was no waste permit for the site. Regular bonfires were also held on the site, one of which caused the main road into Blackpool to be closed due to heavy black smoke.
At a second site at Moss Hey Garages, officers found asbestos, car batteries and waste electronic equipment stored in garages adjacent to those permitted to Baguley. Neighbours reported that waste was being burned onsite. It is also thought Baguley’s business has outgrown the permitted site.