A scrap dealer has been ordered to pay more than £400,000 for running an “illegal car breakers yard” for six years at Westonzoyland in Somerset.
According to the Environment Agency, Wayne Hillard, 42, made £1.3 million by dismantling scrap cars and selling the parts, despite claiming he was only repairing cars at his premises at Springway Farm, Westonzoyland.
The Agency added that Hillard continued to operate illegally and export vehicle parts even after an initial court case – at which he pleaded guilty – in 2018.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “This prosecution is the result of a prolonged period of offending.
“We provided the defendant with advice and guidance over a number of years, yet he chose to ignore us and continued to dismantle vehicles at an illegal site.
“This gave him an unfair advantage over law-abiding operators and risked polluting the environment.”
The case against Hillard was brought by the Environment Agency following a joint investigation with Avon and Somerset Police.
According to the Environment Agency, in addition to payments received from a metal dealer, Hillard would have made money from the sale of re-usable vehicle parts from his business, including the export of components to Greece and Georgia.
Dr Kirstie Cogram, from Avon and Somerset Police Financial Investigation Unit, said: “We’re committed to pursuing offenders through the courts using the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize their ill-gotten gains.
“We hope this case will act as a deterrent to others and send out a clear message that crime does not pay.”
Appearing before Taunton Crown Court on 2 March 2020, Hillard admitted two charges, the Environment Agency says. Both related to the operation of a regulated facility not under or to the extent authorised by an environmental permit, namely the depolluting and breaking of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) contrary to Section 12 and 38 of environmental permitting regulations.
According to the Environment Agency, Hillard was ordered to pay £384,100 plus costs of £16,629 and given an 18-month conditional discharge.
He was warned he would face a three-year prison sentence if he failed to pay the penalty imposed under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Dismantlers are required by law to remove all hazardous components and materials from ELVs, including batteries, oils, brake fluids and airbag cylinders.
Sites must have special facilities, including impermeable concrete floors to ensure spills of hazardous liquids are contained and do not cause pollution.
The dismantling of ELVs needs to be carried out under a permit issued by the Environment Agency.