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Catterick man escapes jail term for hoarding waste

Environment Agency

4:21pm 3rd November 2011
(Updated 5:48pm 3rd November 2011)

A Catterick man was today (Thursday 3rd November 2011) sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months, by Northallerton Magistrates for running an illegal waste transfer station from his own home.

Jonathan Wright, aged 54, of Mowbray Road, Catterick, was also given 300 hours community service and ordered to pay £500 towards costs to the Environment Agency, which brought the case.

Lorna Matchett, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court how Wright had been storing waste at his home since 2010 without any permit.

An investigation by the Environment Agency in 2010 and 2011 revealed large numbers of electrical waste and scrap metal inside and outside of Wright’s property on Mowbray Road.

Wright was given a deadline of 14 June 2010 to remove the waste, but when officers returned there had been no effort to clear it. There was even more waste in the garden than before.

During further visits in the following months, scrap metal and whitegoods were still being stored, and looked different from one visit to the next.

Surveillance of Wright’s property was set up a number of times from January to April 2011, which observed his vehicles moving between the house and a household waste site in Catterick on a number of occasions, always very late at night. Officers witnessed scrap metal being unloaded at the property. In January 2011, Wright was seen cutting metal on the pavement outside the house with a cutting machine.

In April 2011, Wright was seen to be removing items from a white van outside his property, onto the pavement. He then used a sledgehammer to break plastic casing on an electrical item, and was seen dismantling a cooker.

Wright’s property was searched in May 2011 with the assistance of North Yorkshire Police. Officers found lead acid batteries, sorted piles of scrap metal, and a large amount of electrical waste items. They also found gas cylinders, copper cabling and tyres. Other waste found included dismantled motorbikes, radiators, electrical wiring, bed frames, and drums.

The drive was also covered in waste which was spilling out onto the pavement.

Ms Matchett told the court that by using his home illegally as a waste transfer station, Wright avoided costs and fees in excess of £12,000.  

Wright was interviewed on 24 May 2011 and said he was collecting scrap metals and people were dropping items off for him at his property. He admitted that it was scrap metal, that he repaired some items, and weighed some metal in to sell.

Although Wright was registered as a waste carrier to transport waste, he didn’t have an environmental permit to store the waste at his home.

Ms Matchett told the court that Wright continued to offend for over a year at his property, which was not an appropriate location for such a business. She said that he was financially motivated, and ignored previous warnings from the Environment Agency.

At sentencing, the magistrates said Wright was repeatedly warned to clear the waste and had failed to do so. They said his activities were an environmental hazard to his neighbours and to himself and that these activities could not be tolerated.

Speaking after the case Cathy Bedworth, environmental crime officer at the Environment Agency, said:

“Mr Wright repeatedly failed to listen to our advice or clear the waste from his property. The level of sentencing today reflects the seriousness of this case, and we will always aim to prosecute persistent offenders.”

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