The Environment Agency - England and Wales

Berkshire man fined for running illegal skip operation


A man who, with his company, ran an illegal waste operation in Berkshire has been fined a total of £4,000 by Magistrates following a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.

Stephen Frank George, 51, of Fifield Road, Fifield, Berkshire, and his company G&M Waste and Contractors Ltd pleaded guilty to running the illegal waste operation on land known as ‘Hard-to-Find Barn’ in Binfield, Berkshire without an environmental permit.

Reading Magistrates’ Court ordered G&M Waste and Contractors Ltd to pay a fine of £2,000, Court costs of £2,525 and £120 government victim surcharge. Mr George was ordered to pay a fine of £2,000 and £120 government victim surcharge on Tuesday (June 18).

The court heard that Mr George operated a commercial skip hire business from the site that involved the illegal deposit, treatment, and keeping of household and commercial waste.

Environment Agency officers were first alerted to the illegal waste operations on the site in September 2011 when an officer saw a skip lorry being driven into the site. An inspection was carried out and a warning letter issued, however further visits confirmed the waste operations were continuing.

During two separate visits to the site on March 12 and March 26, 2012 officers found numerous skips containing commercial and household waste, including hardcore, green waste, soils, cables, and full black bin bags. There were also numerous empty skips being stored and three skip lorries bearing the G&M Waste livery.

During the inspection on March 12, 2012 Mr George was informed that offences were being committed and that the operation should stop. On October 5 he was interviewed under caution and admitted that he did operate a skip hire business from ‘Hard-to-Find Barn’ under the company name of G&M Waste and Contractors Ltd but that he couldn’t stop trading because he had to earn some money. He confirmed that he was the director and sole employee of the company.

Tom Haysler, Environment Agency Environmental Crime Officer, said: “Storing or disposing of waste on land without an environmental permit is illegal. In this particular case the site poses a particular risk to groundwater as it is within the catchment of the Beenham’s Heath Pumping Station, a public drinking water supply. In these types of cases we will not hesitate to prosecute, especially where previous warnings are ignored.”

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