A director of Scunthorpe-based Thompson Waste Recycling Ltd has been jailed for six months after storing waste illegally, which led to the outbreak of a fire – putting the local community and environment at risk.
Nessa Anne Thompson, 45, was sentenced at Hull Crown Court on April 6 in relation to two charges relating to waste site operations in Scunthorpe.
The defendant pleading guilty to both offences.
Thompson from Scotter Road, Scunthorpe was sentenced to a total of six months in custody and was also disqualified from being a director for a period of seven years.
The charges were brought by the Environment Agency contrary to section 33(1)(c) and section 157(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and one contrary to Regulation 12(1)(a) and Regulation 41(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.
Thompson continued to operate the business after it went into liquidation and no longer had a valid permit.
The site at Winterton Road continued to be used and waste was stored in large quantities, without regulated fire breaks and in such a manner that it presented a human health and caused a fire on May 6, 2014.
Firefighters attending the scene at the time were advised not to re-use the firewater due to the risk of waterborne diseases linked to the number of rats on site.
As a result of inadequate fire breaks at the site efforts to prevent the spread of fire was hampered, causing a greater impact to the adjacent businesses and the wider community.
The Environment Agency officer involved with the investigation said: “This site posed a risk to property, the local environment, and people’s health because our advice was ignored.
“This prosecution demonstrates that we take cases such as this very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute if necessary, to protect the environment and local communities”
In mitigation, the court heard that the defendant was given credit for pleading guilty to the two offences.
The court also heard that her partner was in poor health and that they were both suffering from significant financial hardship.
In passing sentence, the judge said there had been a deliberate flouting of environmental regulations by the defendant.
He said that as the Technically Competent Manager for the site, she would have been well aware that there was no permit in place at the site.
He found that there had been attempts to conceal the illegal activity.
The judge noted that Thompson has previous convictions for breaches of environmental legislation, for which she was under investigation at the time the current offences were committed.
He said that this amounted to a significant aggravating feature.