'It has got to stop' - Garage owner given last chance to clear eyesore site

Colin Barnes faces jail if he does not clear his site at Podmore Lane in Scarning

Colin Barnes faces jail if he does not clear his site at Podmore Lane in Scarning - Credit: Environment Agency

A garage owner has been given one "final chance" to clean up his act after once again failing to clear waste being kept illegally on his land.

Colin Barnes, of CT Barnes Autos in Scarning, has been told he faces time behind bars if the junk is not removed by January.

Colin Barnes' site at Podmore Lane in Scarning

Colin Barnes' site at Podmore Lane in Scarning - Credit: Environment Agency

In May, the 64-year-old pleaded guilty to operating a waste operation at the Podmore Lane site without an environmental permit.

And, on Thursday (November 4), he was back at Norwich Magistrates' Court for sentencing - which had been deferred on the proviso that thousands of old car parts were taken away. 

However, evidence given by the Environment Agency (EA) revealed Barnes had not only failed to clear the waste, but had accumulated more. 

Sarah Dunne, prosecuting for the EA, detailed a history of "virtually identical" misdemeanours on the defendant's part, stemming back to October 2009. 

Mechanical waste including tyres and car parts at CT Barnes in Scarning

Piles of waste at CT Barnes Autos in Scarning - Credit: EA

Mrs Dunne said Barnes had appeared before magistrates on three previous occasions, resulting in him paying almost £20,000 in costs.

The latest offence initially related to a period spanning from November 2019 to January 2020, but proceedings were extended for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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After pleading guilty in May, Barnes was given another chance to clean up, but officers found "piles of waste, scrap metal and engine parts" during a visit last month. 

"The concern is that there is no discernible difference", the prosecution added. 

Scrap material kept at CT Barnes Autos in Scarning. 

Colin Barnes faces jail time if he does not clear up his site in Scarning - Credit: Environment Agency

Sally Dale, mitigating, said Barnes' failure to tidy his land was likely down to "incompetence".

She added: "He is one of these gentlemen who will leave things until the last-possible moment. 

"The intention is for one of his sons to take over the business. He will undoubtedly have learned from his father's mistakes.

"This is clearly not the sort of criminal behaviour that would usually end up with someone going to prison."

Scrap material kept by Colin Barnes at his garage in Scarning

Colin Barnes has been handed a suspended sentence for failing to clean up his land in Scarning - Credit: EA

Handing Barnes a 16-week prison sentence suspended for 24 months, lead magistrate Nicholas Clarke said: "This is really serious because of the contamination of the environment.

"It has got to stop. At some point in your life, you have to say 'enough is enough.'

"This is the absolute final chance before you go to prison."

Barnes was ordered to clear all remaining waste from his site by January 17, 2022, and to pay costs and a victim surcharge totalling £8,439.79

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