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Suspended prison sentence for scrap boss

The owner of a Wiltshire scrapyard and recycling company has been given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for running an illegal waste operation.

Lee Hazel, owner and director of Melksham Metals Recycling Ltd, was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court following earlier hearings in June 2014 and November 2015.

In June 2014 Hazel was found guilty of four charges in relation to the dumping of waste on Queenfield Farm, and in November 2015 he pleaded guilty to a further five charges concerning unauthorised waste activities at his own Station Yard premises.

Melksham Metals Recycling was also convicted of similar offences but will not be sentenced until after a confiscation hearing in June, which will decide the financial benefit obtained by Hazel and make a confiscation order in relation to that benefit.

The firm was paid nearly £178,000 to remove waste from a local stonemason’s yard between November 2004 and May 2012.

In August 2011 a Wiltshire Council enforcement officer found piles of chalky stone, tarmac road planings and concrete pipes illegally dumped on land at Queenfield Farm near Melksham. Waste transfer fines, small particles resulting from a screening process, were also seen.

Environment Agency (EA) officers saw a Melksham Metals lorry loaded with stone waste drive on to the site. Hazel was unable to provide copies of waste transfer notes for the previous two years.

The EA said it warned Hazel on several occasions about unlawful waste activities, including the illegal disposal of waste at Queenfield Farm, depositing waste on land without an environmental permit and the requirements of duty of care.

“The defendant in this case continued to operate outside the law, despite being put on notice that what he was doing was illegal and ran the risk of prosecution,” said an EA spokesperson.

Fines and costs against Hazel and his company will be decided at the hearing in June.

Hazel had been involved in the waste industry for 20 years and held a Certificate of Technical Competence from Wamitab.

The company has been contacted for a response.

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