Husband and wife sentenced after illegal waste site caught fire


Waste tyres

A husband and wife have been sentenced at Bradford Crown Court for operating an illegal waste site for waste tyres which caught fire. 

In November 2020, a fire spread through one of the couple’s sites in Spring Mill Street, Bradford, where over 600,000 tyres had been stored.

The fire caused serious travel disruption and led to the closure of local schools and businesses. Over 14,300 school pupils were impacted by the closures and nearly 100 firefighters were required to control the blaze at its peak, the Environment Agency said.

Stuart Bedford, 62, was given a 12-month and 8-month custodial sentence to be served concurrently for running illegal waste operations in Bradford and Doncaster.

Beford did not have the required environmental permit to operate the sites and was found to have kept stored waste in a manner likely to pollute the environment or harm human health.

His wife Vicky Bedford, 51, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) for her involvement at the sites.

You were being paid to take these tyres and valued the tyres at the Bradford site at £1 million.

In October 2020, prior to the fire, the operators of the Bradford site were served with an enforcement notice to clear the tyres by Environment Agency officers.

Mr and Mrs Bedford were arrested in Spain after international arrest warrants were issued for them and subsequently returned to the UK.

Speaking during the sentencing, Judge HHJ Gibson said: “Stuart Bedford, there is no doubt in my mind that you deliberately breached the law.

“You were experienced in the storage and disposal of tyres. You know from an early stage that the number of tyres you stored on the stie was vastly more than you would have been legitimately able to store under an exemption issued for that site…

“…As far as the fire itself is concerned, you were reckless in the standard meaning of that word. You went ahead and stored the tyres anyway regardless of the risk. You were being paid to take these tyres and valued the tyres at the Bradford site at £1 million.”

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