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Skip operator gets suspended sentence

A man from Oxfordshire has been handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to running a skip operation without environmental permits.

Geoffrey Parker was given a four-month custodial sentence suspended for one year and ordered to pay more than £7,600 for offences at Hundridge Farm, Cox’s Lane, Ipsden Heath.

Parker pleaded guilty to two environmental offences at Reading Magistrates Court on 4 November.

At the sentencing hearing at the same court on 9 December, Parker was ordered to pay £7,551 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £80.

The magistrates also made a remediation order requiring the removal of all waste from the farm and Cox’s Lane by the end of January 2017.

According to the Environment Agency (EA), Parker’s 32-acre farm, where he lives, was used as a storage and sorting location for waste.

He trades as GD Parker Contractors Instant Skip Hire and has run a small skip hire business with a single skip lorry from the farm for many years. His customers are mainly householders and builders.

But he has been carrying out these operations, including the deposit, keeping and storing of waste, without being authorised by an environmental permit.

Back in October 2009, an injunction order was issued against Parker when Oxford County Court ordered the defendant to stop any waste management activities.

Parker failed to follow the order and contempt of court proceedings were taken, with the defendant eventually removing the majority of the waste.

During routine inspections in 2014, EA officers discovered illegal waste in more than 40 skips which were scattered along the approaching lane to the farm.

In the yard area at the farm entrance, environment officers saw a large amount of general household clearance-type waste on a concrete pad, with more waste stacked up behind.

Hazardous materials were seen on-site including car batteries, leaking paint pots and containers with chemicals in skips.

The officers explained the terms of his injunction to Parker and that his activities had to stop.

EA officer Julia Leigh said: “Parker […] frequently flouted the law, undermined the legitimate waste management industry, and put people and the environment at risk.”

Parker’s early guilty plea was recognised and taken into account during sentencing.

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