Suspended Sentence For Director Of Illegal Waste Operation

16-07-14(3)picA waste director has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years and disqualified from being a company director for seven years for his part in an illegal waste operation at Nelson Street and Parsonage Street, Oldbury, West Midlands.

Balwant Singh Baghria was sent sentenced on Friday 11 and his co-defendants Ranbir Singh and Reginald Baldwin and Langley Skip Hire (Midlands) Ltd were sentenced at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing Balwant Baghria, His Honour Judge Walsh, said that the custody threshold was passed to a significant degree but he would suspend the sentence of imprisonment owing to his age and ill-health,

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

David Hudson, EA – “As well as causing nuisance to local residents these cases leave financial victims where landowners foot the bill for clearing the sites. We are increasingly using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to trace the money made by their illegal trade and to make polluters pay for their actions”

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Counsel Mr Nicholas Cole told the Court that between the period July 2010 and July 2012, the defendants engaged in large scale, commercial tipping operations at two sites in Oldbury.

Substantial amounts of waste were deposited at the site, Nelson Street and ‘Butler’s Yard’, Parsonage Street in Oldbury.

Initially, the site at Nelson Street, Oldbury, operated as a fully permitted facility with an environmental permit in place. However, over a period of time the site deposited and stored waste over and above the maximum storage capacities, to dangerous levels.

Despite interventions from the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Sandwell Planning Authority, operations continued. Operations finally ceased when Ranbir Singh was arrested in July 2011.

Costs And Odour

The Environment Agency incurred costs of over £101,000 to clear some of the waste at Nelson Street to prevent damage being caused to a neighbouring business, due to the pressure of the waste pile on the wall of an adjacent building. Sandwell Planning Authority incurred costs of around £4,600 for clearing waste from the highway outside both sites.

The remaining waste at Nelson Street was removed by the landowner at a cost of approximately £35,000.

Waste at Butler’s Yard, Parsonage Street remains in situ to this day. It has caused problems with odour, has attracted rats and has been infested with crickets, which have caused nuisance to neighbouring businesses.

The cost of removal is yet to be determined by estimates are between £320,000 and £1,000,000. The estimated volume of waste has been calculated at 6,000 cubic metres, weighing about 3,000 tonnes.

A timetable has been set in relation to confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in relation to the financial gain made by Balwant Singh Baghria and Ranbir Singh throughout the offending period. The benefit gained in respect of operating and disposal costs alone are calculated to be in the region of £230,000. Confiscation will be dealt with at a future Court hearing.

Speaking after the case, David Hudson, Environment Manager said: “In the past few months, we have seen a marked toughening in sentences passed by the Courts. Many have led to prison sentences. As well as causing nuisance to local residents these cases leave financial victims where landowners foot the bill for clearing the sites. We are increasingly using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to trace the money made by their illegal trade and to make polluters pay for their actions.

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