The owner of a Halifax skip hire firm has been jailed for two years for running an illegal waste site where treated waste wood was also being illegally burned.
65-year-old David Turner, of Farrar Mill Lane in Siddal, was sentenced last week (January 28) at Bradford Crown Court after admitting waste charges brought by the Environment Agency.
He will serve another two years in prison on top of the time he is already serving in custody for separate charges, which relate to him failing to pay in excess of £75,000 claimed against him through the Proceeds of Crime Act over previous waste offences.
The latest two-year prison term will be added on to this existing sentence.
In addition, Turner’s son Jonathan, aged 26 and also of Farrar Mill Lane in Siddal, was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, alongside 100 hour of unpaid work for his involvement in running the illegal waste site.
A family friend, 52-year-old Norman Stoker of Walter Lane in Halifax, was also handed a conditional discharge.
Counsel for the Environment Agency, Craig Hassall, told the court that David
Turner ran a waste site at Farrar Mill in Siddal, with the help of his son Jonathan, under an environmental permit. Turner operated his firm Turn Green Skip Hire from the site.
However, according to the EA, Turner consistently failed to comply with the constraints of the permit and during an inspection in 2011 the Agency found that Turner was storing ‘excessive’ waste on the site.
The main waste pile at the site was 100 metres long and up to ten metres high in some places. The waste was close to homes, Hebble Brook and a bowling green.
The defendant was then ordered to reduce the size of the waste pile but failed to do so. In June 2011, the Agency revoked Turner’s environmental permit, but subsequent inspections found that the site was still accepting mixed waste.
Waste wood was also being burned illegally on site, including treated wood which was unsuitable for burning.
Investigations through 2013 to 2015, which included covert surveillance, revealed that the illegal operation was continuing despite there being no valid permit in place.
In delivering his sentence his Honour Judge Hatton QC said: “David Turner consistently thwarted and impeded them (the Environment Agency) and ignored their efforts, largely for attempted financial gain.”
Jonathan Turner took over the operation of the site when his father was jailed in April 2013 following an unrelated offence of dangerous driving.
Judge Hatton QC said while delivering Jonathan Turner’s sentence that his offending “was limited in terms of time, driven by loyalty to your father who was the instigator of the offending” and added that “You are making efforts to put right what has occurred”.
During the investigations, Environment Agency officers discovered that the Turners had been using a skip wagon that was registered to Norman Stoker. The court heard that Stoker had allowed the Turners to register the vehicle in his name to allow them to continue to operate.
Delivering the conditional discharge to Stoker, Judge Hatton QC said: : “It is not clear why you got involved and were probably drawn in by David Turner to act as a front man.”
Commenting on the sentences, an Environment Agency spokesman said: “We are pleased with the court’s sentence against David Turner. This defendant thought he could flout the regulations but this prison sentence sends a strong message to the community that environmental crime is taken very seriously.
“Environmental permitting laws exist to protect the environment and communities from the risk of harm. People who flout the rules will be pursued.”