The owner of an Exeter scrapyard has been given a suspended prison sentence for operating an illegal vehicle dismantling business, in a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency (EA).
Max Newbery, of Barley Villas Yard, Redhills, claimed all vehicles brought to his site in Exeter were intended for sale, and blamed child vandals for their poor condition.
He received a 24-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to pay £8,470 costs after being found guilty at Exeter magistrates court of operating a waste facility without a permit and failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
The court heard that, in March 2014, the EA suspended Newbery’s environmental permit after he failed to pay the site’s annual permitting fee for five years.
The Barley Villas scrapyard (pictured) continued to accept vehicles despite it no longer being a permitted facility. Between 27 March 2014 and 25 February 2016, a minimum of 51 vehicles were accepted there.
end of life vehicles at max newbery s illegal scrapyard
When questioned, Newbery claimed he bought the vehicles with the intention of selling them on and refused to accept that they were waste.
Two women who took cars to the scrapyard both said they were disposing of their vehicles, and were quoted describing them as “scrap, not a goer’ and “nobody would buy it”.
An EA officer who visited the site said in his professional opinion, all the cars brought to the scrapyard were end-of-life vehicles.
When questioned about the poor condition of some of the vehicles, Newbery claimed they had been ”vandalised by children”, yet there was no CCTV at the site and little security to safeguard the vehicles he insisted were suitable for resale.
In addition to suspending his permit, the EA served Newbery with an enforcement notice requiring him to carry out improvements to the infrastructure of the scrapyard to minimise the risk of pollution and protect human health. Newbery said complying with the notice would be “expensive” and it was therefore “unreasonable” of the agency to expect him to do so.
Magistrates were told the defendant’s business had an annual turnover of more than £50,000 and he had recently obtained planning permission for the site. This had increased its value to around £600,000 and had prompted Newbery to try to sell it.
Jacob Hess of the EA said: “Scrapyard operators are required by law to put in place appropriate environmental safeguards to protect human health and the environment. The defendant continued running his scrapyard without making any of the legally required infrastructural improvements.
“He avoided investing in the business because this would eat into his profits, and he continued making money from an illegal site.”