Driver sentenced after illegally dumping waste

A truck driver from Manchester who illegally dumped 100 tonnes of pungent waste on the site of a school has been sentenced to 12 months in prison.

In a case brought by the Environment Agency, Tameside Magistrates was told how Francis Heaton was arrested by Greater Manchester Police for dumping processed household waste (Trommel fines) on a car park at the Kingfisher Special School in Oldham (pictured) in April 2018.

A school representative confirmed to police that the school gates had been cut and removed to allow access for the waste to be deposited.

The pupils, some with life-limiting conditions, had their education disrupted for two weeks following the incident. They were unable to use the outdoor facilities because of an insect infestation in the waste. Although Oldham Council helped remove the waste, the school was left with a £22,197 bill.

Heaton was also fined for the motoring element of the offences: driving the vehicle without the correct driving licence, with false plates, no insurance or a valid MoT. His driving licence was endorsed with penalty points.

Greater Manchester Police seized the vehicle and it was later crushed as no owner claimed it or made a claim for it. In mitigation, Heaton’s barrister told the court Heaton accepted there was damage to the community and he pleaded guilty at the trial.

Judge Paul Lawton told the court he believed Heaton knew full well what he was doing and that it was a deliberate act.

Mark Easedale, area environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Heaton put the pupils’ welfare at risk and disrupted their education. This case is particularly disturbing as the Kingfisher Special School was made to pay to clear the waste.”

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Tudor Griffiths fined £44,000 after employee suffered serious arm injuries

Building materials company Tudor Griffiths has been fined £44,000 after it failed to keep fixed guards in place on moving machinery at a quarry, causing serious injuries to an employee’s arm.

Telford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 9 December 2016, an employee at the haulage operator was injured on his first day at the quarry when his arm got caught and dragged into the nip point between the conveyor belt and the rotating tail drum. He needed multiple skin graft operations and now has permanent scarring on his arm.

An HSE investigation found the company had failed to ensure that the fixed guards were effective to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery, despite this risk having been identified several months before the incident. 

The firm, based in Wood Lane, Ellsmere, Shropshire, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the HSE Act 1974 and was ordered to pay £2,866 costs. Following the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Edwards said: “This could easily have been prevented and the risk should have been identified. Entanglement in conveyor systems is a significant cause of serious incidents in the quarry industry.

“Quarry operators should ensure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”

Find out more about the legislation used in this case.

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