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Jail warning for owner of site handling asbestos

An operator in Cornwall who illegally stored and treated waste material including asbestos has been ordered to pay a total of £80,000 in fines and costs and told he will be jailed if he does not comply.

Leslie Allen, who traded as Les Allen Waste Disposal Services from a site at Perranuthnoe for 18 years, had assured the Environment Agency (EA) that he would apply for the permit required to handle and store hazardous waste.

Truro Crown Court was told that, in 2014, the EA found the company operating illegally, with the transfer of waste often not recorded. In one case, waste was recorded as being taken from a customer direct to an approved site when, in actual fact, it was transported to Perranuthnoe for sorting before being taken to various sites.

EA officers recovered asbestos from a pile of waste at the site that had not been bagged or stored in a secure container as is required by law.

Allen was fined £40,000 for two offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. He was also ordered to pay £14,200 costs and £25,772 under the Proceeds of Crime Act and warned that failure to pay would result in a nine-month prison sentence.

The site manager, Richard Shore, was fined £4,000 for the same offences and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

Judge Carr told the pair that the handling of asbestos was a “great responsibility” and the defendants had exposed themselves and others to risk. He said poor record keeping meant it would never be known what waste went through the site.

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