Man with van paid duo to remove waste later found dumped by road
- Credit: West Suffolk Council
A self-employed waste collector who paid two strangers to finish his job has been fined after piles of rubble were found dumped at the side of a Suffolk road.
Sean Davis paid the unidentified men £70 to remove building waste he was unable to transport in his broken-down work van last June.
Days later, the 29-year-old was contacted by West Suffolk Council about the discovery of rubble, electrical fittings and plasterboard in a lay-by about six miles from where the waste was removed.
Davis, currently of no fixed abode but formerly of Thetford, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Monday to admit failing to prevent a contravention of section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 after entering into an agreement to remove waste from a former chip shop.
David Smithet, prosecuting for the council, said a member of the public reported seeing the waste beside the road between Fen Street and Coney Weston.
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“As a consequence of what was found, further enquiries were made of a premises in Honington, which confirmed entering into an agreement with someone advertising himself on Facebook as a man with a van,” he added.
“Mr Davis was forthcoming during a voluntary interview, stating he had just started a waste collection business, but that his vehicle had broken down at his address and he needed to get rid of the rubbish in order to get it repaired.
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“He paid two unknown males, who happened to be in the area and collected scrap metal, to load the waste into their van and take it to the local tip. He was unable to provide any further details about the men or their vehicle.
“He said he was a registered waste carrier but could only provide proof of a lower tier licence, which would not have allowed him to transport other people’s waste. That would require an upper tier licence, costing £154.
“We would say this was neither a deliberate nor reckless offence.
“In essence, he gave the rubbish to someone in the street and doesn’t appear to have carried out any checks.”
Davis told the court he had been out of work since February but was trying to get back on his feet and find stable accommodation.
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused,” he added.
“I should have checked before I let anything go. For that, I accept responsibility.”
Davis was fined £612 and handed a 12-month conditional discharge.
Following the hearing, Peter Stevens, West Suffolk Council cabinet member for operations, said: “This case shows why it is so important that people check that the people that they ask to take away items including rubble, are licensed waste carriers.
“Fly-tipping will not be tolerated and if a resident or business owner doesn’t make the simple, necessary checks to prevent fly-tipping from occurring, then they are accountable and we will prosecute whenever we can.”