The manager of a skip hire firm has been jailed for 18 months and the company has been fined £100,000 for illegal waste activities.
Albert Skip Hire and its manager Raymond Anthony Shepherd were sentenced at Teesside Crown Court for their actions at a Dodsworth Street site and at West Musgrave Farm, Bishop Auckland, from 2009 to 2011.
Raymond’s brother and company director, Paul Stuart Shepherd, was also sentenced to a six-month jail term suspended for two years.
The court also banned Raymond and Paul Shephard from acting as company directors for 10 years.
Both men, and the company itself, all denied the charges put to them, prompting a trial that lasted 10 weeks.
In addition, Jack Richard Shepherd was fined £350.
A fourth family member, Tony Leigh Shepherd, will be sentenced on 20 December in relation to the case. Tony and Jack Shepherd both admitted the charges.
Offences among the defendants included:
- Operating a waste facility without a permit
- Depositing waste without a permit
- Breaching a suspension notice that ordered the firm’s waste activities to cease
Environment Agency officers visited the Dodsworth Street site a number of times between March 2011 and March 2012 and found the company was storing and depositing waste on an access road, for which there was no permit in place
In July 2011 an enforcement was served upon the company requiring the waste to be removed, but the waste was still there after the August deadline. Cement-bound asbestos waste was also found on site.
No environmental permit ever existed for West Musgrave Farm. Investigations revealed that construction and demolition waste, including plasterboard, was deposited at the farm between August and December 2009. Waste was also seen being taken to West Musgrave Farm in 2010.
Jack Shepherd was involved in depositing the waste. He signed a waste transfer note that allowed a driver for another company to deposit controlled waste at the site.
In addition to the waste found at West Musgrave Farm, environmental pollution was seen in Tinsdale Beck, a watercourse that runs alongside the property.
His Honour judge Briggs said Raymond Shepherd had a “cavalier disregard for the regulations”, and that Paul Shepherd had a “casual attitude to the storage of asbestos which was both chilling and alarming”.
David Edwardson, environmental crime team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Their illegal waste operations were carried out in the interests of profit, unfortunately at the expense of the environment. By not complying with waste regulations, the company also undermined legitimate businesses.”