Two former directors of a Belfast skip company have been ordered to pay £200,000 under proceeds of crime legislation.
Brothers Thomas and Gary Bates and their firm, Ace Bates Skip Hire, were sentenced in Laganside Court (pictured) for illegally depositing and keeping controlled waste at their Ballyutoag Road site.
They were ordered to pay the confiscation order of £200,000 within three months or go to jail for a year. The brothers were each fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000. In addition the company was fined £40,000.
The pair had pleaded guilty on 9 January 2015 to one charge each under Article 4(1)(a) of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 in relation to the depositing of controlled waste, or knowingly causing or knowingly permitting controlled waste to be deposited in or on any land, except under and in accordance with a waste management licence.
Current director John Carson pleaded guilty to two charges on behalf of the company under the same order.
Between 2007 and 2011, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers investigated the unauthorised dumping and burning of waste at the site.
No waste management licence existed for the site, where NIEA officers discovered significant volumes of mixed controlled waste had been treated and buried on land belonging to the defendants and on neighbouring property.
This included construction and demolition wastes, plastics, wood, metals, cardboard, carpet, textiles, plastic bin bags and food waste. Repeated incidents of waste burning took place on the site during 2007 and 2008.
During sentencing, the Honourable Mrs Justice Keegan referred to the company’s previous conviction for waste offences on the same site in 2005.
Keegan said the brothers had agreed then not to be directors of any waste management company or undertake the role of technically competent person for three years.
An NIEA spokesman said: “Today’s court result underlines the seriousness of waste offending. We hope that it also represents both a suitable deterrent to anyone who may be contemplating such activity and a demonstration to the public of our intention to actively pursue anyone who seeks to profit from the destruction of our environment.”
- From 8 May, the environmental functions from the dissolved Department of Environment (DoE) have been transferred to the newly created Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). Northern Ireland’s government made the changes as part of its move to reduce its 12 departments to nine.