The bosses of a Hartlepool-based skip hire firm Easy Skips (NE) have been ordered to hand over £234,393 after admitting waste offences.
Easy Skips directors Andrew Benson and Kevin Brough pleaded guilty at Teeside Crown Court (19 August) to charges of controlled waste offences. The firms assets will have to be confiscated in order for them to pay the £234,393.
The confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act is the second-highest achieved in an Environment Agency case. Last month, the EA fined soft drinks company Red Bull £261,278 (see MRW story).
The court heard that Easy Skips knowingly permitted large amounts of controlled waste to be deposited at their waste transfer station on Casebourne Road, Hartlepool, which did not have a waste management licence or registered exemption, so no waste should have been there. The directors allowed this to happen.
EA officers visited the site in September and November 2006 and saw large piles of bricks, rubble and concrete, mixed with plastics and wood, as well as a large pile of wood and two skips full of waste. The EA warned the directors that they would need a waste management licence.
Officers returned in February and June 2007 when the pile was even larger, spilling through a broken fence onto a pavement.
Speaking after the case, EA environment manager Julian Carrington said: Over many months Easy Skips and its directors Andrew Benson and Kevin Brough undercut legitimate businesses by deliberately flouting waste management rules designed to protect the environment and the public.
Many of their customers were misled to believe they had paid good money for their waste to be disposed of properly, at a licensed site. Instead, the waste has simply been dumped to become an unsightly mountain of waste on an illegal site that spilled out onto footpaths creating a hazard to the public.
Now the proceeds of crime hearing have concluded we are looking at what action can be taken to clear the site.
North East Regional Asset Recovery Team head DCI Steve Waite said: EA enlisted the services of the North East RART at an early stage to ensure that the maximum use was made of the powers available under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
This is a prime example of what can be achieved from partnership working. The common goal was to ensure that those who have benefited their criminal conduct have their assets stripped away from them.