Fly-tipper could face jail for dumping almost 30 tonnes of waste on farms

Nigel Roberts appeared in custody at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Nigel Roberts appeared in custody at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

A 57-year-old man could be facing prison and almost £15,000 in costs for dumping 28.5 tonnes of rubbish on Suffolk farmland.

Nigel Roberts was convicted in October of depositing controlled waste on concrete sugar beet pads at farms in Walsham-le-Willows and Acton in 2015.

The 57-year-old had denied both charges but failed to attend a trial on October 1 and was convicted under the Environmental Protection Act in his absence.

On Wednesday, Roberts returned to magistrates’ court in Ipswich to hear the outcome of a pre-sentence report by the probation service, which included the possibility of imprisonment.

But magistrates said their powers of sentencing were insufficient for the offences and committed the case to be dealt with by a crown court judge.

Roberts, of Grenville Road, Sudbury, has remained in custody since his conviction for dumping 15 tonnes of plastic waste at Sunnyside Farms, Walsham-le-Willows, on April 8, 2015, and another 13.5 tonnes of similar material at Cuckoo Tye Farm, Acton, two weeks later on April 23.

Mid Suffolk District Council, prosecuting Roberts, said both deposits of waste originated from the same source and were each transported in a vehicle belonging to his employer, but without their prior knowledge or permission.

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The first incident was witnessed at night by a neighbour of Sunnyside Farms, who saw a truck drive away at speed, carrying a skip with an unfastened drop door.

The cost of clearing the waste came to £5,129.78 in Walsham-le-Willows and £2,650 in Acton, according to the council, which has also applied to recoup costs of the investigation and £5,843 in legal fees from Roberts, who still denies responsibilty.

Appearing without legal representation, Roberts told the court he had moved address soon after entering a not guilty plea to the first charge, and had not received a letter informing him of the trial date, which he knew would be set for later in the year but forgot to enquire about further.

Roberts added: “I don’t know what more to say – I wasn’t guilty of it.”

Magistrates agreed their powers of sentencing were insufficient and remanded Roberts in custody until his next appearance before a judge at Ipswich Crown Court on a later date.

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