A director and his waste company have been ordered to pay nearly £110,000 following a case the judge described as a “flagrant breach” of the law.
Gary Shorthouse and G R Shorthouse Ltd admitted unlawfully storing, treating and disposing of waste without an environmental permit between September 2018 and November 2019 at Worcester Crown Court.
Gary Ralph Shorthouse, 58, was fined £68,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £33,395.74 while G R Shorthouse Ltd was fined £8,500. He was also disqualified from acting as a company director for 5 years.
The company ran a skip-hire business, bringing waste to the site from domestic and commercial customers without an environmental permit. The court was told the waste was then sorted, with some waste being burned, metal being sold for scrap, and the remainder being sent for legitimate disposal elsewhere.
Gary Shorthouse and G R Shorthouse Ltd had both been convicted before for similar offences involving waste in 2003 and 2012. Shorthouse also received a formal written warning from the Environment Agency for offending in 2008.
We are actively targeting illegal waste activities across the country.
The court was also told that in June 2019, Environment Agency officers found evidence that the site was being used for the storage of scrap metal, burning of wood waste, and unauthorised use of construction and demolition waste.
The sentencing judge stated that the offending amounted to an “intentional and flagrant” breach of the law and was aggravated by the previous convictions and financial motivation.
In mitigation, the court heard that Shorthouse had pleaded guilty to the offences before trial, and was suffering with “significant” health issues.
Lyndon Essex, waste technical specialist for the Environment Agency in the West Midlands, commented: “Shorthouse operated the site without the required permit which, as well as undermining the regulatory regime, also had an impact on lawful waste operators.
“We are actively targeting illegal waste activities across the country and would urge all those seeking to become involved in the waste industry to ensure they have the appropriate permits and authorisations in place.
“Businesses and householders should carry out checks to ensure that they are using legitimate companies to deal with their waste.”