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Lee Averies told to pay back £200,000 of illegal earnings

Lee Averies has been told to pay back £200,000 of earnings he made at an illegal waste operation yard at Marshgate, Swindon, which suffered a serious fire in 2014.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service tackled the blaze for 57 days, making it the longest-lasting incident in the service’s history.

Lee Averies is also serving a five-year ban from the waste industry after environmental offences at sites in Swindon he operated with his brother, David Averies, and another one in Calne.

In a prosecution at Swindon Crown Court, the Environment Agency (EA) recovered £200,000 from Lee Averies under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He could face prison if this is not paid within three months.

In addition, Judge Jason Taylor QC ordered him to contribute £15,000 towards the EA’s legal costs.

The court had frozen seven personal and business bank accounts linked to the waste dealer at an earlier hearing, after an EA application.

EA manager for Wiltshire Colin Chiverton said: “Our extensive investigation found companies linked to Lee Averies earned significant amounts of money from stockpiling waste, and failing to exercise proper controls over the sites. He benefitted personally.

“We have ensured neither Averies nor his businesses operate any permitted waste sites or become registered waste-carriers, such as providing skips for hire.”

Both brothers were given suspended prison sentences in 2016 after they pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations at the Marshgate site and at Swindon Skips.

Calne Aggregate Holdings, of which Lee Averies was a director, also pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations at another waste site. It is now in liquidation.

On that occasion, Lee Averies was given three 12-month prison sentences suspended for two years and the ban on working in the waste industry.

David Averies was then fined £4,208 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs and was suspended from being a company director for three years.

Chiverton said at the time that, if the EA had not acted, “the environment and local infrastructure could have been catastrophic” due to the fire risk from stockpiled waste.

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