Garage owner has five months to clear site or face jail
- Credit: Environment Agency
A garage owner has been told to clear waste kept illegally on his site within five months - or face a potential jail sentence.
The Environment Agency this week took Colin Barnes, of CT Barnes Autos in Scarning, to court over mechanical waste stored at the Podmore Lane site.
Over a period spanning between November 14, 2019 and January 30, 2021, 64-year-old Barnes operated an illegal waste storage operation alongside the auto business.
In doing so, he amassed a large amount of scrap material at the site, including end of life vehicles, tyres, car parts, gearboxes and suspension units.
These were stored illegally on-site and despite repeated advice from the Environment Agency he continued to stockpile the scrap material.
On Wednesday, May 12, he pleaded guilty to operating a waste operation without an environmental permit at Norwich Magistrates' Court, after missing several opportunities to remedy the situation without the need for court action.
Sarah Dunne, prosecuting for the EA, said he had been given every opportunity to clear the waste and had been granted extensions on his deadlines four times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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She added that EA officers had first visited the site on November 2019 and issued advice, before visiting again on no fewer than 10 separate occasions.
The prosecutor told the court that several of the vehicles kept on site contained fuel, brake and clutch fluid, batteries and tyres, which posed a significant risk of fire or explosion.
Inspectors also found oils and fuel on open ground, which risked contaminating the ground and surface water.
After his guilty plea, the case was adjourned for sentencing in November 2021, with magistrates warning Barnes that if he failed to clear the waste from the site within the next five months he would risk a prison sentence.
Tom Howard, environmental crime officer at the EA, said: "Storing waste illegally meant that Mr Barnes was able to operate at a commercial advantage, undermine legitimate businesses and put the environment at real risk.
"The magistrates' stance sends a powerful message to those prepared to operate an illegal waste business."