A Hockering businessman has been handed a £5,000 fine after the Environment Agency brought a private prosecution against him.

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Mark Monk, owner and director of Monk Plant Hire Ltd, based in Stone Road, Hockering, near Dereham, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court this morning.

He entered a guilty plea to a charge of burning waste which was not covered by his environmental permit.

Sarah Nicholson, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, explained that Monk had bought land alongside his home, where the business is also based, and been clearing the site.

She said: “Environment Agency officers attended the site (on Monday, December 12, 2011) following a report of waste being burned.

“Mr Monk joined them and took them to an area where a fire was being burnt and said it was just wood being burnt and pointed to some nearby pallets as an example.”

However Mrs Nicholson said the two officers also saw other items on the fire including treated wood, wire, cans, and a paint can, as well as a pile of electrical cables next to the fire.

Monk pleaded guilty to the charge and Danien Moore, in mitigation, said that he had been “reckless”.

As well as the £5,000 fine Monk was also ordered to pay costs of £2,003.58.

After the hearing Environment Agency officer Rachael Storr said: “This is not the first time that waste has been burned illegally at the site. As the director of a company that runs a waste transfer station, he should have been aware of what materials could be burnt and made sure there were no contrary materials in the waste before lighting the fire.”

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