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Big bill for running illegal scrap yard

A man has been ordered to pay more than £18,000 in costs and compensation after being convicted of running an illegal scrap yard.

Malcolm Grange, 55, of Bryony Road, Harrogate, also was made the subject of a 12 month community order with 60 hours' unpaid work.

Environment Agency officers visited Grange's property near Harrogate in May 2006 after a complaint from a member of the public.

At White Wall Farm, Felliscliffe, they saw more than a dozen vehicles, which they described as fit only for dismantling. Further inquiries revealed Grange had bought several of the vehicles.

In August 2006, Grange found out he was under investigation by the Environment Agency and called on multiple occasions to demand inquiries were called off. Officers had to call in police after Grange's calls became threatening.

Two months later, officers from the Environment Agency and North Yorkshire Police executed a warrant at White Wall Farm. Grange was uncooperative and tried to obstruct the search, and also was uncooperative during later interviews.

Grange was found guilty by a jury at York Crown Court after a four day trial last month.

He had denied keeping controlled waste without a licence and claimed the vehicles on his land were not scrap. He told Environment Agency officers many of the tyres on site were not his and that he had a legitimate use for those that did belong to him.

Sentencing him today, Recorder Deborah Sherwin told him: “Environmental offences are serious.

“All these vehicles could have become hazardous in time.”

The recorder ordered Grange to pay £15,000 prosecution costs and compensation to the Environment Agency of £3,260, representing the fees he should have paid for a licence to run the site.

Speaking after the case, Environment Officer Kate Halka said: “This prosecution illustrates that the Environment Agency does not tolerate illegal activities.

“At the time of the investigation, legitimate ELV (End of Life Vehicle) operators in the Harrogate area had spent considerable amounts of money and time to bring their facilities up to spec with the requirements of the ELV Regulations. As a result, costs of ELV disposal had to be increased to off-set these costs.

“The breaking and disposal of ELVs pose a significant pollution risk and harm to human health and so must be carried out in a controlled environment at a regulated premises overseen by technically competent individuals.

“We want to take this opportunity to remind the public that when they dispose of a vehicle it should be through such sites. Anyone wishing to locate licensed ELV facilities, or any other licensed waste management facility, should visit our Public Register at http://www2.environment-agency.gov.uk/epr/?lang=_e or call our National Customer Contact Centre on 08708 506 506.”

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