A LANDOWNER has been handed a suspended prison sentence and paid £100,000 costs after dumping tens of thousands of tonnes of waste in Frodsham.

The Environment Agency prosecuted landowner Eric Hale and two other men who blighted 19 acres of farmland.

Hale, of Bank Top Farm, near Frodsham, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years, disqualified from driving for 12 months, ordered to work 200 hours unpaid, and have a curfew of 8pm to 6am for three months after pleading guilty to operating an illegal waste site without an environmental permit and dumping and landfilling controlled waste on the land.

Eric Hale (left) and Stefan Street

He also paid £100,000 in contributions towards the Environment Agency’s costs. 

The Environment Agency brought the case against Hale, Dennis Whiting and Stefan Street after a lengthy investigation. The investigation identified that significant amounts of waste were being brought on to the farm, which did not have an environmental permit. The Environment Agency identified that the operation of the illegal site was closely connected with a waste company Eric Hale Skip Hire Ltd. The prosecution for the Environment Agency stated that the majority of waste collected by the company was illegally dumped and landfilled at Bank Top Farm instead of being taken to a legitimate waste site.

Whiting and Street each received a conditional discharge for two years after pleading guilty to dumping and landfilling controlled waste.

Footage captured by the Environment Agency of the waste being dumped

Tracey Rimmer, area environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This operation demonstrates how the Environment Agency works in partnership to tackle serious waste crime.

“We have worked closely with the police and local authorities to pursue these criminals and bring them to justice. Waste crime is a serious issue diverting as much as £1 billion per year from legitimate business and the treasury.”

During the course of the investigation Hale, Street and Whiting were seen driving large waste vehicles which delivered, deposited and disposed of mixed waste, demolition waste including plasterboard and other waste including carpets and mattresses. Trommel fines, which are a by-product produced during the recycling process and consist of materials such as wood, aggregate, glass, ceramics and organics, were also dumped at Bank Top Farm. The unregulated deposit of waste has the potential to cause harm to the environment.

The judge, on sentencing, said: “Eric Hale was driven by greed to continue the illegal operation”.

The court did not accept any of the mitigation of the offending put forward but Eric Hale’s personal circumstances were acknowledged by the court.

Waste crime can be reported by calling the incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Contact the Environment Agency on 0370 850 6506 to find out how to responsibly manage any waste your business produces or visit www.gov.uk/managing-your-waste-an-overview/overview