A Darlington-based skip hire firm and four directors and employees have been convicted of multiple waste crimes, following a 10-week trial at Teesside Crown Court.
Albert Skip Hire Ltd, manager Raymond Anthony Stewart and his brother company director Paul Stuart Shepherd were convicted on Friday (November 8), following an investigation by the Environment Agency. Raymond, Paul and the company had denied all charges put to them.
Family members Jack Richard Shepherd and Tony Leigh Shepherd were also convicted following earlier guilty pleas. Sentencing will take place at Teesside Crown Court on December 12 2013.
Offences among the five defendants included: operating a waste facility without a permit; depositing waste without a permit and breaching a suspension notice that ordered the firm’s activities to cease.
Lee Fish, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency, told the court that illegal activities were carried out from 2009 to 2011 at the skip hire firm’s base in Dodsworth Street, and at another site, West Musgrave Farm, St Helen’s, Bishop Auckland. The company has a previous conviction for unlawfully depositing waste at West Musgrave Farm.
According to the Agency, at the Dodsworth Street site, the company was storing and depositing waste on an access road, for which there was no permit in place. Investigating officers saw these activities taking place when they visited the site a number of times between March 2011 and March 2012. In July 2011, an enforcement notice was served upon the company, requiring the waste to be removed but when the deadline passed in August of that year, the waste was still there.
The site had an environmental permit which allowed the storage of some waste, but the volume was exceeded. An enforcement notice was also issued that suspended the site’s permit and ordered that the waste be removed. However, the Agency said waste continued to be taken to Dodsworth Street between October 2011 and March 2012.