A fly tipper who dumped a huge pile of soil, plastic and brick rubble between parking spaces at a business park has been jailed for 16 months.
James Atkins, from Copperfield in Chigwell, Essex, drove more than 25 miles from his home county to Kent with his lorry full of business waste in February 2017.
Pulling into the Swan Business Park in Dartford under the cover of darkness, he unloaded the massive pile of rubbish in the car park and headed back north.
Essex Police found and seized the lorry when it was discovered a week later, some six miles back over the River Thames in Purfleet.
Meanwhile, firms at the business park had to pay more than £3,000 to get the mountain of waste removed.
An investigation led police to Atkins, who handed over a key and documents proving he was the registered owner of the lorry.
When interviewed by officers, the 29-year-old answered ‘no comment’ to every question.
He was charged with depositing waste on unlicensed land and for handling, controlling and transferring controlled waste without taking reasonable measures, and initially was given 14 months in jail.
However, at Chelmsford Crown Court last Wednesday, Judge Mary Loram KC gave Atkins an extra two months for failing to give himself up at an earlier court hearing and for being on a suspended sentence for driving while disqualified when the waste was dumped.
Saying the defendant was responsible for the ‘planned and cynical dumping of waste’, she also ordered him to pay £6,000 in costs.
He had been convicted in his absence at the same court last October.
Lesley Robertson, who led the Environment Agency’s investigation, said: ‘We take illegal waste activity very seriously, and will not hesitate to disrupt criminal behaviour and prosecute those responsible.
‘Atkins allowed his vehicle to be used to dump waste in Dartford.
‘He operated at a commercial advantage, undermining legitimate business with little or no regard for the environment – and firms where the waste was dumped outside their premises had to pay for the clean-up.
‘His custodial sentence demonstrates how seriously the court also considered this case to be.’
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