A man has been handed a suspended prison sentence after burning waste at an illegal waste site he operated on Tyneside.
Following an investigation by the Environment Agency, Dale John Barrett, 42, of Mansfield Place, Newcastle, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court for sentence on Tuesday.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of operating a regulated facility without a permit, and three offences of burning waste at the site.
Simon Crowder, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency, told the court that Barrett stored and sorted waste - an operation which requires a permit - at a site at Longridge Lane in Blaydon Burn, Gateshead, between 7 April and 19 September 2015.
On a number of occasions, Environment Agency officers attended the site and saw piles of waste lying around the yard, as well as sorting activity and evidence of burning.
On 29 June, the officers attended the site with the police, and a search warrant was executed.
In interview Barrett said he could not remember who his landlord was, and claimed the waste did not belong to him, adding that someone else must have had access to the site.
He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and a five-month electronic curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
He was also ordered to pay £1,500 in costs.
Dave Edwardson, Environment Agency enforcement team leader for the North East, said after the case: “Barrett had no permits in place for activity at the site, showing a complete disregard for environmental law.
“He deliberately evaded officers and continued to store and sort waste at the site, despite knowing that Environment Agency officers were investigating his activities.
“Waste crime of this nature can have a terrible impact on the environment and local communities – that’s why it’s vital those who handle waste work within the regulations.
“Illegal waste sites undermine legitimate businesses, and while we work with businesses to help them meet their environmental obligations, where there are breaches we’ll take enforcement action.”
Anyone who has information about waste crimes can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.