Fineshade Woods visitors “put at risk” by burning waste criminal
A man who ran illegal waste operations at a site in Fineshade has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Stephen Lack, of Monkton Sidings in the hamlet off the A43, put those enjoying a walk at nearby Fineshade Woods at risk by burning noxious materials.
Lack, 66, admitted operating without an environmental permit for the deposit, storage, treatment and disposal of waste, depositing construction and demolition waste on land at Cliffe Road in Easton-on-the-Hill and failing to complete a waste transfer note for the transport of controlled waste after being prosecuted by the Environment Agency.
At Northampton Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday) he was jailed for six months suspended for two years.
The court heard that, trading under the name of Abbey Skips, Lack already had a previous conviction for similar offending at the Monkton Sidings site.
The site had been a permitted waste transfer station, but following persistent non-compliance on the site, including burning waste, the permit was revoked in 2012.
After new complaints in 2017, officers attending the site saw large volumes of waste including broken corrugated asbestos and burning waste, which gave off noxious fumes and a bad odour.
On other visits to the site, officers also found hazardous waste including cement-bonded asbestos on an area that had no sealed drainage.
Sentencing Lack, Her Honour Judge Lucking QC said that he had committed “prolonged, blatant breaches of regulations designed to protect the environment.”
She ordered Lack to pay £9,185 towards the costs of the Environment Agency and a victim surcharge of £115.
Paul Salter, senior environmental crime officer at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste crime is a serious offence with tough penalties as it can damage the environment, blight local communities and undermine those who operate legally.
“This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action to ensure the protection of the environment and avoid harm to health.
“Businesses can support us with this by carrying out their duty of care and due diligence checks to ensure that they are using legitimate companies to deal with their waste.
“Lack made a lot of money by avoiding disposal taxes and put those who attended the nearby Fineshade Woods at risk by burning noxious materials.
“Burning waste is illegal and poses a serious risk to the environment and human health.
“The motive is nearly always financial as it reduces the amount of waste a company has to legally dispose of.”