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100 hours community service for theft and unlicensed scrap dealing

York Magistrates Court

10:06am 23rd November 2017

As part of the council’s drive to prevent fly-tipping by ensuring waste carriers are licensed, on Tuesday (21 November) a scrap metal dealer was prosecuted for stealing two items from a house and for being unlicensed.

In May 2017, a council officer witnessed Christopher Smith, aged 48 of James Street, York, enter a garden, take a vacuum cleaner and a steam cleaner and put them into the back of the van he was driving. When challenged, he claimed it was his aunt’s home and became abusive. On checking it was found that his aunt did not live there.

In July 2017, Mr Smith was stopped by neighbourhood enforcement officers as he was using a vehicle loaded with scrap metal. The van had no scrap metal dealers licence on display and Mr Smith refused to answer questions at the time. Further investigation found that his licence with City of York Council had expired in March 2017 and he had failed to respond to reminders from the council’s licensing team.

Mr Smith failed to attend interview or respond to questions under caution about the offence of carrying waste without a scrap metal dealers licence or a waste carrier licence, both of which are legal requirements.

At York Magistrates Court on Tuesday 21 November 2017, Mr Smith pleaded guilty to one offence of theft, one offences of transporting controlled waste without a waste carrier licence, operating as an unlicensed scrap metal dealer, failing to provide information about business waste being carried and disposed of.

Mitigation offered to the court included a claim that the theft was opportunistic. Further mitigation offered was that at the time, Mr Smith was showing the ropes of the family business to his son to whom he was handing it over, and that it would be his son who would apply for a dealers licence in the future. Mr Smith claimed too that he was illiterate so could not keep records or read enforcement letters. He is now working for a delivery company.

He pleaded guilty to all offences. The Magistrates commented that the theft was aggravated as, in their view, it took place whilst Mr Smith was operating a business.

He was sentenced to a community order for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work and was ordered to pay an £85 court surcharge.

Cllr Andrew Waller, interim deputy leader and executive member for environment at City of York Council, said:

“To help ensure the safe and effective movement and disposal of waste, scrap metal dealer licences are issued by local authorities, whilst any one carrying waste as part of a business must hold a waste carriers licence from the Environment Agency. Anyone or any business using an unlicensed waste carrier risks prosecution themselves.”


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