A waste recycling business and its directors have been ordered to pay the highest fine the Environment Agency has ever imposed on individual defendants, after they illegally deposited waste on two sites.
Upminster, Essex-based PCS Recycling and its directors, Patrick James Corbally senior and Patrick Lee Corbally junior, were found guilty of illegally depositing waste, including potentially hazardous material, in 2012 and 2013.
The Environment Agency found that the firm, which has an O-licence authorising up to 17 vehicles, had tipped and spread waste on an area the size of two football pitches on Baldwins Farm, Upminster, between 1 March and 31 August 2012.
The waste reached more than 15 metres in height in some places, and the Environment Agency estimated that at least 7,000 tonnes of waste was deposited on the site.
The company did not have a permit in place for the site.
The directors also admitted to depositing more than 9,000 tonnes of waste on another nearby site, which was owed by Cemex UK. The estimated cost of clearing and remediating the site was around £3m.
The directors were each sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years. The sentence was imposed on the basis that the directors had acted deliberately when they deposited the waste on the sites.
The company and the directors must also pay a £120,000 fine and £55,000 in compensation to Cemex UK.
Sarah Mills, enforcement team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Due to the complexity of the case, it took a lot of resources to get the right outcome from this investigation.
“Illegal and unscrupulous waste criminals are working with total disregard for the environment, landowners, legal waste operators and any member of the public who use the land. We are determined to stop them by working with our partners in a collaborative effort.
“We hope this sentence serves as a message to those involved that we won’t stop the fight against this blight, and that it acts as a deterrent against those who undermine legitimate businesses within the industry.”
The Environment Agency claimed that waste crime is diverting up to £1bn per annum from legitimate businesses and the Treasury.