Waste criminal given prison sentence after being on the run since 2019


Environment agency

James Mete has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after being on the run since 2019 when he and his two daughters were found guilty of running an illegal waste site in Kent.

Mete, 61, absconded while on bail before sentencing in 2019 after the Environment Agency prosecuted him along with his daughters, Lucy and Billie Mete.

Mete will now serve a 14-month prison sentence for allowing waste to be deposited and treated at his site, Thirwell Farm, along with a further four months for breaching the terms of his bail.

In 2019, the Environment Agency prosecuted James Mete after obtaining evidence that he allowed multiple lorry-loads of soil and builders’ waste, approximately 40,000 tonnes, to be dumped and treated at Thirwell Farm between 2014 and 2016.

Mete is the third man to be given a prison sentence for waste crime in just a few weeks.

Matt Higginson, environment manager for the Environment Agency in Kent, commented: “James Mete and his daughters all knew their actions amounted to a criminal offence, but still allowed waste to be dumped, kept and treated at Thirwell Farm for a number of years with no permit from the Environment Agency.

“Mete is the third man to be given a prison sentence for waste crime in just a few weeks.”

Following several tip-offs in 2015, the Environment Agency says it raided Thirwell Farm alongside Kent Police and found 10-foot piles of waste soils and rubble, as well as machinery for processing it. During this visit, environment officers turned back a lorry that had arrived to tip more waste.

During the trial in March 2019, the court heard from an expert witness that the volume of materials on the site had increased by over 40,000 cubic metres between January 2011 and September 2015.

In 2020, Lucy Mete was given a 26-week custodial sentence. In 2019, Lucy’s sister, Billie Mete, was sentenced to six weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

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