Two brothers who ran a Leeds-based recycling company have been handed suspended jail terms for running unauthorised waste operations in the Yorkshire area.
Jamie Michael Todd, 33, of America Moor Lane, Morley, and Thomas Todd, 24, of Littlemoor Gardens, Pudsey, must also carry out unpaid work after they each admitted nine waste management offences.
The brothers were sentenced today (28 January) at Leeds Crown Court after an Environment Agency investigation revealed that their company, Leeds Paper Recycling Ltd, was storing waste at two sites without the required environmental permits.
Jamie Todd was given a six-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work; Thomas Todd was handed a four-and-a-half-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, with an order for him to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work.
Their illegal operations were discovered in January 2012, when investigating officers found the firm storing waste at the Knostrop Depot industrial park in Old Mill Lane, Hunslet, without legal permission.
The Environment Agency warned the company that no more waste should be brought onto the site, but subsequent visits saw the waste pile grow from 209 bales in January to 1,100 bales in February.
At that point, Leeds Paper Recycling was served with a legal notice requiring that it remove the waste by March. But the pile continued to grow, and by May there were an estimated 11,500 bales on the site, along with thousands of flies and a strong smell.
Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Christopher Stables told the court that further investigations revealed that Leeds Paper Recycling was also storing waste illegally at Goole Docks. Here, there were an estimated 4,000 bales of waste, containing paper, plastic carpet, metal, wood, drinks bottles containing liquid, and general waste.
A liquid run-off from the waste was visible, and there were a lot of flies on the waste. Some bales were ripped or torn, and two had fallen onto the ground.
In June 2012, the Environment Agency served another legal notice on the firm, this time ordering that the waste be removed from the docks by mid-July. But when the deadline passed, 3,503 bales remained.
The Environment Agency, keen to see the waste removed, gave the firm a further chance to remove the waste, but by November that year some 1,082 bales remained.
In April 2013, Leeds Paper Recycling Ltd changed its name to Whitecase Ltd, and this firm was liquidated shortly afterwards.
Responsibility for the removal of the waste at Knostrop fell to the landowner, the Canal & River Trust, which subsequently spent £1.4 million cleaning up the site, paying for pest control and the removal of 755 loads of waste.
Ian Cowie, Environmental Crime Team Leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste operations of this nature can potentially have a big impact on the environment and local communities - that’s why the law exists to ensure that such operations are regulated and managed appropriately.
“In the case of Leeds Paper Recycling, the company was taking waste and storing it at two locations that didn’t have legal permits or the environmental infrastructure to prevent harm to the environment. As a result, this waste caused a terrible nuisance to people who lived and worked nearby, and affected the lives of many people.
“Waste management companies must ensure that their operations comply with the law. We will always pursue those that flout the law for their own profit to the detriment of legitimate businesses trying to do it properly. It is also vital that landowners know what their land is being used for and that they can be held responsible for clearing up waste left behind from illegal operations.”
Thomas Todd also admitted an offence under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007, which was taken into consideration in his sentencing today. This related to the illegal shipment of three containers of waste to China, which were intercepted at Felixstowe.
In mitigation, the Todds said that they had committed the offences after relying upon some professional advice, provided by an independent environmental consultant, that had turned out to be wrong. In addition, Thomas Todd said he had limited responsibility for the running of the firm.