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Prison sentences for brothers operating illegal scrap site

A father and two sons have been served prison sentences for owning and operating an illegal waste site.

John Smith and sons David and George Loveridge pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to five breaches of the Environmental Protection Act at Cophall Farm, Cambridgeshire.

The illegal activities carried out on the farm have been estimated to have made the three men almost £330,000 from the sale of the scrap metal and saved them £640,000 by not making the site suitable for their business.

The two-acre farm was raided by Environment Agency (EA) Officers with the assistance of Cambridgeshire police on 25 March 2009 when all three men were arrested.

During the raid officers found more than 100 waste vehicles being stored and dismantled with no working surfaces or areas arranged to capture spills and no equipment to clean up any spills and lead acid batteries scattered on the ground.

Soil samples later showed that the ground was contaminated with copper, lead and zinc with further severe contamination of mineral oil and diesel.

David Loveridge, 50, was sentenced to prison for 15 months; George Loveridge, 45, was sentenced to nine months; John Smith, 78, was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

All the defendants told investigators that they did not consider the vehicles to be waste as they were recycling them.

David Loveridge had three previous convictions and John Smith had two for similar offences related to illegal operation of a scrap yard at Cophall Farm.

A directions hearing is listed for 8 December to determine whether proceeds of crime from the offending should be confiscated from the defendants.

Chris Badger prosecuting on behalf of the EA, told the court: “This was an extremely profitable, financially motivated and wholly illegal operation in which all three of these defendants had a role.

“However, despite numerous meetings and letters between July 2006 and January 2008, no meaningful progress was made in stopping the continuing illegal activity at the Cophall Farm site.”

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