Company owner fined after hiring ‘rogue waste collector’

A skip hire company owner who was “duped by a rogue waste collector” has been ordered to pay a total of nearly £25,000 in fines and costs after waste was found dumped at sites around Essex.

According to the Environment Agency, Robert Walker, who owned and operated Bob’s Skips in Basildon, Essex, failed to check the legitimacy of a haulier who claimed to be working for a genuine haulage company.

Environment Agency images of the waste in Newport, Essex

The driver did not work for the company and was using fake waste transfer notes. The waste was later found fly-tipped at four different locations in Essex, the Agency said.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday (March 8) that the rogue trader had made a cold call to Walker’s company looking for material to fill his lorry for a return journey.

Mrs Sarah Dunne, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told magistrates that Mr Walker, aged 54, arranged four of these deliveries.

Enquiries

She told the court that Walker had asked for waste transfer notes but made “no further enquiries about the legitimacy of the company” and failed to notice the forms were not filled in properly.

He also had no idea where the waste was being taken nor did he check that it had arrived at its destination, the Agency said – all part of his duty of care.

However, due to the “inaccurate nature of the paperwork”, it was not possible to trace the lorry or the driver.

Mr Walker pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the duty of care imposed by the Environmental Protection Act and was fined £10,000, ordered to pay £8,300 towards the costs of the clean-up of the fly-tipped rubbish and £6,532 in costs. There was also a £30 victim surcharge.

Waste was found at four sites around Essex

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Tom Pickover said: “We hope this sends out a clear message to waste operators that they cannot take a cavalier approach to its disposal.”

Mr Pickover added: “The duty of care rules are there to protect the environment and legitimate traders who want to do a good job of disposing of waste properly.”

Mr Walker could not be reached for comment.

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