Thursday, September 21, 2023

Two jailed over illegal waste storage in Skegness

Two men operating from a Skegness waste site have been jailed and a third sentenced after the Environment Agency found they were storing material illegally.

Between June 2015 and April 2017, Thomas Todd, Jamie Todd and Bryan Walker managed businesses operating from the former Bowman’s Site, in Lincolnshire near the A52.

On 8 June 2015, the site’s environmental permit was transferred to East Coast Recycling Properties Ltd. which was run by Jamie and Thomas Todd. This permit allowed for the processing of mixed waste with a view to extracting recyclable materials.

The Environment Agency began to conduct inspections at the site shortly afterwards and quickly found failings. The site’s permit required a fire prevention plan to be in place to avoid a serious blaze and protect the environment. This was especially important as the site was surrounded by arable land and the nearest residential premises were only 10m away. However, The Todd brothers failed to have such a plan in place leaving the site at risk.

Inspections found that waste was being stacked too high and too closely together, creating a fire risk. The waste had also become a health risk following an influx of mice and a problem with flies. As a result, the Environment Agency suspended the site’s permit, stopping new material from being brought in between December 2015 and February 2016.

Further visits by Environment Agency officers between March and May 2016 found that there were no firebreaks between the waste. This meant the waste stored on the site continued to present a huge fire risk. The company’s permit was suspended again in July 2016.

In July 2016, a new company Eco Green Logistics Limited registered an exemption to start waste work on another section of the Bowman’s site. Bryan Walker was the registered director of this company. He also allowed too much waste into his section of the site leading to waste being stored unsafely and presenting a fire risk.

The Todds reassured the Environment Agency that waste would no longer be brought onto Bowman’s and instead the land would be redeveloped. However, the Environment Agency continued to find evidence of new waste being brought onto the land. Also, MJT Development, another Todd company, was brought in to provide on-site security and to remove waste.

The Environmental permit for the site was revoked fully in March 2017 and the businesses were ordered to clear the site fully. The site was later searched under warrant where evidence was found to show waste moving on and off the site despite the restrictions put in place by the Environment Agency.

Both Jamie and Thomas Todd had a previous suspended prison sentence for very similar environmental offences which the judge considered when sentencing.

The 3 men appeared at Leeds Crown Court on 19 May 2023 for sentencing, having pleaded guilty at earlier hearings.

Thomas Todd, 33, of Hunt Street, Castleford pleaded guilty to 3 counts.

Jamie Todd, 42, of Wakefield Road, Drighlington, Leeds pleaded guilty to 4 counts.

Bryan Walker, 60, of Beckhill Vale, Leeds pleaded guilty to 5 counts.

Speaking at the case, Judge Batiste said that fire safeguards at the site has been “non-existent” and that the defendants had “flagrantly breached environmental law”. He added that if any part of the site had caught fire “it is highly unlikely it could have been contained”.

He said the actions of the Todd brothers had been “…so serious that only immediate custody can be justified”. He described the pair as the “leading lights” of the operation on the site.

On Bryan Walker, the judge said that his actions had been “wholly reckless”.

Thomas and Jamie Todd were both sentenced to 8 months immediate custody and were disqualified from acting as a director of a business for 5 years.

A Proceeds of Crime Act Enquiry will be carried out for the Todd brothers in due course.

Bryan Walker was given a 12-month community order with 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement Days. He was also disqualified from acting as a director of a business for 5 years and ordered to pay £60 as a victim surcharge.

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