22 May 2024

Man sentenced after storing illegal waste

A Hedon man has received a suspended sentence and been ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation and costs after illegally storing hazardous waste at a site in Aldbrough.

Stephen Coates, 58, of Souttergate, appeared at Hull Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 29, after earlier pleading guilty to two charges.

Coates received a custodial sentence of 17 weeks for each charge to run concurrently, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation and costs to the Environment Agency, which brought the case, and an order to clear a waste site within 12 months.

The court heard how Coates is the owner and operator of a site in Hull Road, on the outskirts of Aldbrough. An investigation by the Environment Agency found Coates was storing abandoned corroding chemical drums, intermediate bulk containers, shipping containers, old tyres and flooring materials with the appearance of containing asbestos on his land next to a residential house over a period of five years from March 2017 to March 2022.

He failed to remove the waste when ordered to do so after the Environment Agency served him with a notice.

The Environment Agency cleared some of the waste at its own cost – £120,000 – but 60 tonnes of chemicals remain on the site.

Coates was then charged with operating a regulated facility without an environmental permit and storing waste in a manner likely to cause harm to human health and pollution of the environment.

In sentencing, the district judge said this case was reckless with a wilful disregard for the environment. The defendant had been ordered to clear the site, failed to do so, which meant there were significant clean-up costs to be covered by taxpayers.

In mitigation, it was acknowledged that Coates had entered guilty pleas at the earliest opportunity.

Following the hearing, an Environment Agency spokesman said: “The seriousness of this sentence sends out a message that waste crime will not be tolerated.

“Waste criminals undercut legitimate business, damage our environment, and are a blight on local communities. We encourage people to report any illegal waste activity
to our 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 807060.”