York Crown Court has confiscated £57,995 from a Selby man in the one of the largest proceeds-of-crime cases involving environmental offences.
Cornelius Opey Price, aged 39 of Glebelands, Kellingley, Selby was prosecuted by the Serious Organised Crime Agency on behalf of the Environment Agency for depositing, treating, disposing and keeping waste without the benefit of a waste management licence. He was given a nine month sentence last November for each of the four offences, serving half this time.
The confiscation order was calculated on how much profit Mr Price made in committing these crimes.
Mr Price was also ordered to pay full costs of £14,148.13 to the Environment Agency and £4,982.55 to the Serious Organised Crime Agency. All payments must be made within six months or a 19 months prison sentence in default.
Mr Price ran C Price Skip Hire using land at Meadow View off Weeland Road, Kellingley.
He operated an illegal waste transfer station at the site, which the public, other legitimate operators and local authorities made complaints about. The Environment Agency decided to investigate the site in October 2005, and in May 2006, after repeated warnings to Mr Price, and further complaints about activities there, officers started a surveillance operation.
During surveillance, an average of seven loads of waste per day were seen to be deposited at the Meadow View site. Waste was being kept, stored and burnt on the site. Following on from this work, formal searches were then conducted in July 2006 by the Environment Agency.
Mr Price admitted depositing, keeping and sorting waste at Meadow View. He also admitted to burning offences, but only of wood materials.
Speaking after the today's hearing, Environment Agency Senior Environment Officer, Dr Paul Salter, said: “This will act as a strong deterrent to those who operate illegal waste sites and put profits ahead of the environment.
“In terms of waste crime, offenders do the sums and calculate how much they will earn compared against the risk of being caught.
“But the days of emerging from prison to enjoy the profits of waste crime, are now over.”
Those thinking of starting a skip hire business should research the legislative requirements before starting such a business. More information can be found through NetRegs, which provides free environmental guidance for small businesses in the UK www.netregs.gov.uk