Crewe-based LP Griffiths Limited, trading as Envirocare (NorthWest) Limited, has been fined a total of 14,500 by magistrates, with 6,485.14 costs, after admitting a string of special waste offences.
The company's director, Richard Griffiths, was also fined a total of 1,000 after admitting two offences, relating to false and forged information on special waste consignment notes, at the hearing last Friday.
The company pleaded guilty to four offences of keeping special waste, one offence of disposing of special waste onto open ground, and nine offences under the Special Waste Regulations 1996. The company had failed to keep adequate records of waste transported, in particular it failed to keep carriers' copies of special waste consignment notes.
Finola Eyers, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told Crewe Magistrates' Court how the Agency discovered problems regarding Envirocare's records with special waste consignment notes following a routine visit in December 1999.
Subsequent investigations highlighted that the company had failed to pre-notify the Agency in advance of the intended movement of wastes, and in addition had taken special waste back to its premises rather than to a licensed landfill site contrary to instructions from the consignor.
Although the special waste was eventually taken for lawful disposal, this was only after the waste had been kept at the site for some time. The court heard that the company even used waste cleaning liquid, that it had been paid to dispose of correctly, to wash its own vehicles.
Mrs Eyers also told the court how, in an attempt to avoid detection, company director Richard Griffiths forged false information on the consignment notes, relating to the origins of the waste producer and location of the waste and the point of collection.