A man has been sentenced to an 18-month community order and a fine of £ 11,200 after pleading guilty to carrying out an illegal car burglary operation at two sites in Billingham. The fine includes a victim fine surcharge of £ 900 and costs of £ 1,300
Martin Flatman (39) of Bradley Court, Billingham, was sentenced by Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, May 7 following a successful lawsuit by the Environment Agency.
Flatman was found to have carried out an illegal car demolition operation without having the proper environmental permit. The offenses were committed at a site known as The Old Coal Yard, at the junction of Haverton Hill Road and Hope Street, Billingham between May 14 and August 13, 2020. Additionally, a separate site, across from The Old Coal Yard, was used by Flatman to store scrap vehicles, posing a pollution risk to the nearby Teesmouth and Cleveland site of Special Scientific Interest.
Environmental Agency law enforcement officers investigate pollution concerns voiced by members of the public to the Agency’s National Incident Hotline for the environment.
Waste operators are required to comply with the rules and regulations put in place to protect people and the environment. These rules require precise documentation of the process they follow when transporting waste and ensure that such waste is properly disposed of at a waste facility authorized by the Environment Agency. Failure to properly dispose of waste poses a risk to the environment and public health.
Environmental Agency Law Enforcement Officer for the Northeast, said John Crowl,
“This crude operation increased the risk of hazardous waste leaching into the environment and presented a risk of groundwater pollution.”
Flatman has been ordered by the Environment Agency to cease operations and clean up the sites. However, subsequent visits by Environmental Agency law enforcement officials revealed that illegal waste management operations continued to be undertaken in violation of the law.
John Crowl of the Environment Agency said: “We are working hard to prevent and disrupt waste crime and are delighted that Flatman has admitted to wrongdoing in relation to the offenses at Billingham. We welcome the conviction by the judge which should have a chilling effect on others who consider flouting the law.
“Anyone or company that transports, processes, stores or drops off waste without the required environmental permit is breaking the law.
“The conditions of an environmental permit are designed to protect people and the environment. Failure to comply with these legal requirements is a serious offense that can damage the environment, harm local holders of legitimate environmental permits, endanger jobs and cause misery to local communities.