Posted on Wednesday 9 August 2017
Above: part of the unlicenced scrapyard at Whinfield Industrial Esate
A man has been convicted of operating an unlicensed scrapyard and failing to keep the proper documentation after an investigation by Gateshead Council.
Christopher Williams of Acton Dene, Stanley, was convicted of three charges under the Environmental Protection Act, the Scrap Metal Dealer Act and the Control of Pollution Act relating to his business C&C Clearances on Whinfield Industrial Estate, Rowlands Gill.
Council officers visited his premises following a complaint by a member of the public and discovered a large quantity of scrap metal and waste being stored on the site. Mr Williams was then asked to provide details of his licence to operate a scrap yard and his waste transfer documents, but was unable to do so.
Mr Williams was repeatedly invited to interviews with Council officers to discuss his operation of the site and provide the requested documentation, but despite numerous appointments being made he failed to attend any.
He also failed to attend Gateshead Magistrates’ Court on June 21 to answer three charges of operating an unlicensed scrapyard. Two of those charges – of carrying out a scrap metal business without a licence and failing to produce waste transfer documents – were then found in his absence.
Mr Williams was instructed to attend court on Monday August 7 for sentencing where he pleaded guilty to the third charge of failing to provide transfer waste documentation. Magistrates fined him £750, with £500 costs.
It was revealed in court that Mr Williams had a previous conviction for waste offences, having been prosecuted by the Environment Agency in 2015 for illegally storing and incinerating waste, and had received an 18 week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay £4,000 costs.
Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, said:
“The law imposes strict controls over the operation of scrap yards because they can cause serious nuisance to their neighbours, and have the potential for significant environmental pollution.
“In this case, Mr Williams’ premises had a large number of fridges and freezers awaiting disposal yet had no obvious means of safely removing and storing the dangerous chemicals they contain.
“Operating an unlicensed scrapyard is a serious offence and I am pleased to see that the magistrates have taken a firm view.”