A father and son have been fined almost £70,000 after admitting dumping the equivalent of six Olympic-size swimming pools of illegal waste in Leyland.
Appearing at Preston Crown Court today (Wednesday), William Wheale, 62 of Norcross Brow, Withnell, and Benjamin Wheale, 33, of Smallden Lane, Grindleton, were both sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and each ordered to pay costs of £34,593.02 for dumping the the illegal waste on land at an industrial estate in, Farington.
The pair have also each been ordered to undertake 150 hours of community service.
Two companies directed by William Wheale have also received fines. Wheale Environmental Contracting Limited have been fined £10,000 and Wheale Plant Hire Limited have also been fined.
The offences took place at Farington Business Park, Carr Lane, between August 2015 and February 2016 where over 15,000 cubic metres of waste was illegally dumped.
The waste appeared to be connected to the car industry as it contained fragmentised rubber, plastics, metals and foam. Environment Agency testing showed the waste to be highly polluting and therefore it posed a potential risk to the local environment.
The site was cleared of all waste in 2018 and the land has now been fully remediated by the defendants under the guidance of the Environment Agency.
The Wheales, who ran Wheale Environmental Contracting Ltd, acted as guarantors on the lease granted to Wheale Plant Hire Ltd. A number of companies entered into agreements with Wheale Environmental Contracting Ltd for the removal of their waste to this site.
Each of these companies, in interview, accepted that they had transferred waste to Wheale Environmental Contracting Ltd. All companies stated that either Ben or William Wheale had informed them that the site was permitted to take fragmentiser waste.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “The court’s sentencing decision today demonstrates these offences will not be tolerated and we will take action, as in this case, to pursue and prosecute offenders.”
“The Environment Agency is determined to make life hard for criminals. Our specialist crime unit uses intelligence to track and prosecute those involved in illegal waste activity and we rely on information from the public to bring those responsible to justice.”
“Waste crime is a serious offence, which can damage the environment, undermine legitimate business and cause misery for local residents. We would, however, like to strongly remind landowners that they need to maintain an awareness of what is happening on their land as the responsibility to clear illegally deposited waste can ultimately fall on them. ”
“In this case local information proved vital in obtaining a conviction. So please remember that anyone can report environmental incidents to the Environment Agency 24/7 on 0800 807060, waste crime can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers online or on 0800 555111.