The owner of a car breaking business in Godstone has been sentenced to serve 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £34800 after pleading guilty to illegal waste activity at Guildford Crown Court.
William Creasey, of Brickhouse Lane, South Godstone, was charged with operating a waste facility without the correct environmental permits in a manner likely to cause pollution after complaints from members of the public and an investigation by the Environment Agency brought to light issues at the Surrey site, including fires burning in skips and oil escaping to nearby watercourses.
Officers from the Environment Agency have been working with Creasey since a flurry of complaints from the local community prompted a visit to the site in 2010.
Creasey has been operating his car breaking business at this site for many years, but visits to the site across 2010 revealed end-of-life cars stored there, which Creasey claimed were for use by his grandson for banger racing.
Andrew Pearce, Environment Agency – “It’s cases like this that demonstrate how waste crime can undermine legitimate businesses. Mr Creasey generated savings by dealing with waste inappropriately, but his site posed a real risk to the local environment”
Subsequent investigations revealed the site being used to illegally burn waste scaffolding boards and store waste tyres and wheels, damaged vehicles, and skips full of waste metal. On one visit in 2012 Environment Agency officers found a fire burning in a 40-yard skip close to the property perimeter.
Throughout the investigation Environment Agency worked with Creasey to make him aware of his responsibilities, however little changed and between 19 March 2010 and 23 January 2013 46 reports of illegal activity at the site were received.
Environment Officers visited the site on 23 January 2013 with officers from Surrey Police and served Creasey with a court warrant. A search carried out on that day found approximately 9 skips filled with broken car parts, car wheels, and tyres; vehicle parts strewn across the yard; a military style vehicle full of used car parts; an oily sheen covering many parts of the yard with a stream along the boundary also black and oily; and rusty skips containing burnt remains.
Andrew Pearce, Environment Agency area manager, said: “It’s cases like this that demonstrate how waste crime can undermine legitimate businesses. Mr Creasey generated savings by dealing with waste inappropriately, but his site posed a real risk to the local environment.
“We worked with Mr Creasey and agreed actions with him to improve the situation at his site, but little action was taken. In cases like this where individuals consistently operate illegally, the Environment Agency has no hesitation in prosecuting.”