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Recycling boss filmed obstructing EA officers

ea bodycam shot

A Teesside man has been fined after he breached his environmental permit and then obstructed an Environment Agency officer during his investigation.

Glenn Norman Walsh, 56, of Blue House Point Road at Portrack, Stockton-on-Tees, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 4 December where he pleaded guilty to all three allegations against him.

The breaches were uncovered during visits to SIS Plastics. Walsh was charged with two offences of breaching the terms of his environmental permit, and another of obstructing an Environment Agency officer in the exercise of his duties.

Walsh was fined £1,173 and ordered to pay legal costs and a victim surcharge totalling £4,790.

EA officers in the region carried out a successful six-month trial of bodycams last year. Such cameras are now being rolled out at EA teams across the country.

North-east enforcement team leader Paul Whitehill said: “Our officers are doing an important job ensuring that waste sites are operating within the law, and it is not acceptable for them to be subject to abuse such as this.

“The safety of our staff is paramount, and our preference is for the cameras to prevent hostility in the first place. I hope this serves as a warning to others that their actions are being recorded and will be used in court proceedings.”

On a visit on 10 May last year, EA officers discovered breaches including waste being stored without fire breaks, non-permitted waste accepted on-site, waste stored loose or in insecure containers, and waste being stored on land outside the site.

Walsh had also failed to tell the EA about the break down of a granulator, which was central to the site’s operation.

Enforcement notices were served, including one to remove all waste, which is either sludge or liquid, and dispose of it properly, which was met. Another notice required all waste to be stored and treated properly, including all waste outside either being moved inside or into a secure container, or off-site by 23 June 2018.

On 19 April 2018, officers visited and found there was still a risk of pollution due to fire, waste was still being stored outside and water was pooling in the yards due to inadequate drainage.

The following month EA officers were being shown around the site by the manager when Walsh approached angry and agitated, and shouted at the officers to leave, and was abusive about one of them. This was captured on the bodycam. The officers left without being able to inspect the premises.

On 25 June 2018, the officers returned and found large amounts of waste still being stored outside and on the ground.

Whitehill added: “Deliberately flouting environmental permits impacts on the environment and local community as well as undercutting legitimate businesses who abide by their permits.

“We take offences such as this extremely seriously, and I hope this sends out a message to others that we will take appropriate action for anyone who disregards the law.”

A farmer in Northumberland was ordered to pay almost £4,000 in October for assaulting an EA officer and threatening to burn down his house and kill his family.

  • This article was amended on 12 December

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