Following an investigation by the Environment Agency, Paul Riina-Moretti, 46, has received a 10-month custodial sentence for operating three illegal waste sites in the East Midlands.
Riina-Moretti was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on 19 December 2023 and also disqualified from acting as a company director for seven years. He had previously admitted three offences of operating a waste facility without an Environmental permit.
The court heard that a major fire broke out at the biggest site, Oakham Farm, Forest Lane, near Walesby in north Nottinghamshire, which took the Fire Service over a month to put out in the autumn of 2016.
The fire forced one mother and their child to move out temporarily due to the smoke. Smoke was still noticeable five days later and the fire destroyed the two poultry units which resulted in the landowner incurring clear-up costs of £478,000.
The other sites were at Hathernware Industrial Estate, Rempstone Road, Normanton-on-the-Soar, and Horse Leys Farm, Melton Road, Burton on the Wolds.
Paul Billingham, 55, was sentenced at the same hearing after he admitted depositing waste at the three sites. Billingham received a six-month custodial sentence which was suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
CCTV footage from Horse Leys Farm showed Billingham driving an articulated lorry and trailer to deposit waste at the site on 13 occasions between the end of August and September 2016.
We welcome these sentences which should act as a deterrent to others who are considering flouting the law.
The Environment Agency says its investigation discovered that Riina-Moretti was depositing waste in vast quantities at the three sites illegally without an Environmental Permit and there was no “real plan” for how it was going to be processed.
At Oakham Farm, the defendant had rented two former poultry production units telling farm officials that he wanted to store clean plastics. Riina-Moretti said that his intention was for the plastics to be transferred to an incinerator for burning and converting to energy.
At Hathernware Industrial Estate, Environment Agency officers received complaints about waste being dumped and discovered that around 100 black polythene-wrapped bales had been stored at the front of the warehouse. Similar baled waste was stored at Horse Leys Farm.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We welcome these sentences which should act as a deterrent to others who are considering flouting the law. These sites posed a significant environmental threat due to the high risk of fire and potentially significant impact on local communities and amenities.
“The conditions of an environmental permit are designed to protect people and the environment. Failure to comply with these legal requirements is a serious offence that can damage the environment, harm human health and undermine local legitimate waste companies.”