Essex man given 16-month prison sentence for waste offences


A 29-year-old man whose lorry was used to dump illegal mixed waste at a Kent industrial estate has been jailed.

James Atkins was sentenced to a 16 months jail term at Chelmsford Crown Court on 25 January 2023.

Atkins was also given a 14-month sentence for the waste deposit offences and handed another month for failure to surrender himself to the court at an earlier hearing. He was also given a further month in jail for committing the waste offence while subject to a suspended sentence for driving whilst disqualified.

Sentencing Atkins, Her Honour Judge Loram KC told the court that Atkins was responsible for the “planned and cynical dumping of waste”, which she described as “sophisticated”.

Atkins was also ordered to pay £6,000 costs.

On 7 October 2022 James Atkins of Chigwell, Essex was found guilty in his absence at Chelmsford Crown Court of controlling a lorry used to dump mixed waste under the cover of darkness at an industrial site in Kent.

The court heard how in February 2017, under the Operation name “Bayleaf”, Environment Agency Officers analysed CCTV footage which showed waste being dumped at night at Swan Industrial Estate, Dartford.

His immediate custodial sentence demonstrates how serious the court considers this to be.

They were able to identify the registration details of an articulated lorry depositing the waste, consisting of brick rubble, soils and plastic.

One week later, Essex Police seized the same vehicle in Purfleet, Essex. In an attempt to retrieve the vehicle, James Atkins provided police with information that he was the registered owner of the lorry.

Environment Agency Officers subsequently interviewed Atkins under caution, during which he answered “no comment” to their questions.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, barrister Nicholas Ostrowski told the court that Atkins’ activities had allowed him to avoid the fees and taxes associated with lawful disposal.

He told the court that “he had undermined lawful competitors” and “caused significant interference with the legitimate activities of industrial estate users and business owners”.

Commenting on the sentencing, East Anglia Enforcement Team Leader, Lesley Robertson, said: “We take illegal waste activity very seriously and will not hesitate to disrupt criminal activity and prosecute those responsible.

“In this case Mr Atkins allowed his vehicle to be used to dump waste at a Kent Industrial unit. He operated at a commercial advantage, undermining legitimate business with little or no regard for the environment or unit owners. The unit owners then had to pay for the waste blighting their businesses to be removed.

“His immediate custodial sentence demonstrates how serious the court considers this to be.”

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