A man has been handed a suspended prison sentence for burning waste at an illegal site in Gateshead.
Dale John Barrett from Newcastle was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and a five-month electronic curfew following an investigation by the Environment Agency (EA).
In a hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, he was also ordered to pay £1,500 in costs.
Barrett had earlier admitted one charge of operating a regulated facility without a permit, and three offences of burning waste at the site.
For the EA, Simon Crowder told the court that Barrett stored and sorted waste at his site at Longridge Lane, Blaydon Burn, without a permit between April and September 2015.
EA officers reported seeing piles of waste lying around the yard as well as sorting activity and evidence of burning on a number of occasions.
According to the EA, Barrett said in an interview he could not remember who his landlord was and the waste on-site did not belong to him, saying someone else must have had access to the site.
EA enforcement team leader for the north-east, Dave Edwardson, said: “Barrett had no permits in place for activity at the site, showing a complete disregard for environmental law.
“He deliberately evaded officers and continued to store and sort waste at the site, despite knowing that EA officers were investigating his activities.
“Illegal waste sites undermine legitimate businesses and, while we work with businesses to help them meet their environmental obligations, where there are breaches we’ll take enforcement action.”
Barrett pleaded guilty to one charge of operating his regulated facility between 7 April and 19 September while the operation of the facility was not authorised by an environmental permit contrary to regulations 12(1)(a), 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) regulations 2010 and section 2 and s7(9) of, and schedule 1 to, the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.
He also pleaded guilty to three offences of burning waste on the site without an environmental permit contrary to sections 33(1)(b) and 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.