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UK: £80,000 penalty for Lancashire waste criminal

Over 21,000m3 – equivalent to 8½ Olympic sized swimming pools – of construction and demolition waste was dumped on farm land

A North West man has discovered that waste crime doesn't pay after the Environment Agency successfully secured an order from Preston Crown Court to confiscate £80,000 in criminal benefits from him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Andrew Park, Director of Wyre Waste Recycling Ltd pleaded guilty to 6 charges brought by the Environment Agency after a lengthy investigation into illegal waste activities by specialist crime officers.

Using 3D modelling, the Environment Agency found that over 21,000m3 (equivalent to 8½ Olympic sized swimming pools) of construction and demolition waste was dumped on farm land in Poulton-le-Fylde and Preesall.

Waste from Mr Park's legitimate operations was transferred to two areas of land in order to be illegally disposed of on farm land.

Mr Park, who operates a skip hire business and waste transfer station in Fleetwood, had been diverting some of the waste he collected to Pitfield Farm, supposedly to be turned into compost and other waste to a site at Lancaster Road, Preesall supposedly for use as construction material. Neither site had suitable permissions in place to allow them to accept the types of waste sent to them.

Investigations found that Mr Park, through his company Park Organic Farms Ltd, was supposedly carrying out a composting operation on waste at Pitfield Farm.

Officers found that the waste wasn't being composted or wasn't suitable for composting as it contained significant quantities of plastic and metals. Some of the waste was being disposed of by being ploughed into fields at the site. None of the activities taking place were covered by the authorisations he'd registered with the Environment Agency.

There were pools of leachate found around the site, all with the potential to pollute local rivers and streams.

As a director of several waste businesses, Mr Park knew which rules and regulations to follow. By acting in this way has shown total disregard for the environment and legislations.

Steve Molyneux, Environment Manager for Lancashire said:
"This case shows that waste crime doesn't pay.
The Environment Agency has a range of tools available to ensure that waste criminals do not benefit financially from their illegal operations. Mr Park was aware of the rules and regulations.
The penalties imposed by the courts show should send a clear message to other illegal operators that we will chase after tough penalties if you fall outside of the law."