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Penzance company faces £80,000 fine

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5:28pm 21st April 2017
(Updated 5:28pm 21st April 2017)

The owner of a Cornish waste disposal business has been ordered to pay almost £80,000 in fines and costs - after illegally storing and treating waste, including asbestos, at a site near Penzance.

The site manager was also prosecuted and ordered to pay a total of £6,000 in fines and costs, after the case was brought by the Environment Agency.

They ran a waste operation from a site in Perranuthnoe where waste from various commercial and domestic sources was illegally processed.

The site was also used to store hazardous waste - including asbestos - which requires an Environment Agency permit.

Truro Crown Court heard how it was operated without a permit despite receiving advice and guidance from the Environment Agency and assuring officers a permit would be applied for.

The business had traded for some 18 years.

An investigation was launched by the Environment Agency in 2014 after officers suspected Les Allen Waste Disposal Services was still operating illegally.

According to the agency, the transfer of waste was often not recorded and when it was, the records were either inadequate or misleading.

During their investigation, Environment Agency officers recovered asbestos from a pile of waste at the site, and say it had not been bagged or stored in a secure container as is required by law.

On February 5, 2016, the Environment Agency discovered Leslie Allen was continuing to run an illegal waste operation despite having been interviewed under caution and giving an assurance he would stop.

The business was operating a crusher and swing shovel on land near Sunnyvale Farm, Rosudgeon, Penzance, and treating mixed construction and demolition waste to raise a ground level without an Environment Agency authorisation.

Sentencing, Judge Carr said the handling of asbestos was a 'great responsibility' and the defendants had exposed themselves and others to risk.

He said poor record keeping meant we would never know what waste went through the site.

Sophie Unsworth for the Environment Agency said: "Waste sites must operate within the law and always put human health and the environment above financial gain.

"This is especially important for sites receiving hazardous waste such as asbestos. Despite being given repeated advice and guidance by the Environment Agency, the owner chose to continue to operate illegally, receiving, handling and storing waste, without a permit".

On Arpil 10 at Truro Crown Court, the owner was fined £40,000 for two offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

These were for between November 17, 2014 and November 6, 2015 and February 5, 2016, for operating a regulated facility, namely a waste operation at The Workshop, Perranuthnoe Lane, Perranuthnoe and on land adjacent to Sunnyvale Farm, Rosudgeon, Penzance without an environmental permit.

He was also ordered to pay £14,200 costs and £25,772 under the Proceeds of Crime Act - and warned that failure to pay would result in a nine-month prison sentence.

The site manager was fined £4,000 for the same offences and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

5:28pm 21st April 2017

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