Man ran illegal waste-burning site to dispose of friends and family rubbish on the cheap

The waste burning site run by George Charlton
The waste burning site run by George Charlton

A man who burned rubbish at an illegal waste site to avoid disposal costs found himself £750 out of pocket.

George Charlton, 62, of Manor Way in Jarrow, admitted flouting environmental laws and was made the subject of an 18-month community order, ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work, a and pay costs of £750.

The waste burning site run by George Charlton

The waste burning site run by George Charlton

Charlton was charged with operating a waste site without a permit at Reay Street, Bill Quay, Gateshead, and illegally burning waste at that site when he appeared at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court.

Laura Taylor, for the Environment Agency, told the court that Charlton collected waste from friends and relatives and took it to the site without registering as a waste carrier.

He also had no environmental permit to store and sort the waste at the yard.

The court heard that Environment Agency officers first visited the site on 4 April 2016 after they saw a cloud of smoke coming from the compound.

On investigation they saw a pile of waste on fire and waste including furniture, beds, mattresses, wood and waste electrical items strewn across the site.

They spoke to Charlton at the site and he said he was looking after it for his son.

Ms Taylor added: "He became aggressive but the officers said the fire needed to be put out. Charlton extinguished the fire before leaving the area."

Further visits saw the waste remain on site. On 4 July, the Environment Agency sent a letter to Charlton requesting he stopped all waste activities and cleared all waste by August 15, 2016.

The court heard that, on August 24, the Environment Agency went to the site for an inspection with Northumbria Police and officers from Gateshead Council and found there were still large piles of mixed waste including household furniture, white goods, construction waste, garden rubbish and some scrap vehicles.

There was also evidence of burning.

When interviewed, Charlton confirmed his son was the legal owner of the site and that he had been looking after the yard since 2013.

He said he would go to the site around twice a week to check on it and deposit rubbish from friends and relatives.

He also said he would weigh in the scrap metal for money and cut up wood and other items to burn them.

Paul Whitehill, Environment Officer with the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “Charlton was warned to stop his operation and to clear waste from the site but on multiple visits it was clear a large amount of waste was still present.

“Illegal waste activity such as this has a detrimental impact on the community and environment, as well as undermining legitimate businesses.

“We’ll continue to work hard to ensure enforcement action is taken against those who flout the law.”