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Darlington firm Albert Hill Skip Hire considered itself 'above the law', court told
A FAMILY-RUN skip hire company charged with serious environmental breaches has been accused of considering itself to be "completely above the law".
Raymond Shepherd, 58, of Darlington-based Albert Hill Skip Hire, is accused, alongside the company, of operating a waste disposal site in Dodsworth Street, in the town, without an Environment Agency permit.
He is also charged with illegally depositing waste at the family’s West Musgrave Farm, in St Helen Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, and flouting a suspension notice to stop trading as a waste transfer operation.
Opening the trial at Teesside Crown Court today (Tuesday, September 10), prosecutor Lee Fish told the jury: “Albert Hill Skip Hire Ltd considers itself to be completely above the law. The rules that apply to the law-abiding companies do, in their opinion, not apply to them.
“It has no regard whatsoever for the regulations that exist to protect the environment and the public.”
The court heard how the Environment Agency suspended the company’s waste permit for their Dodsworth Street depot in July 2011 after having serious concerns about waste storage at the site, in particular a number of skips – some containing asbestos - being illegally stored on the access road leading up to the depot.
Environment Agency officer, Michael Dickinson, who visited the site several times told the court that five skips, including one lidded skip and two containing mixed waste, were unlawfully stored on the road by the company.
“The access road has no permission for the storage of waste or treatment of any waste, any operation should be conducted within the permit area,” he said.
However, the company ignored the suspension notice and continued to deposit and store waste at the site and on the access road, causing the Environment Agency to revoke their permit completely in February 2012.
Mr Fish said: “The site was in a very poor state. It was obvious no effort had been made to improve matters or comply with any enforcement notices that had been served.”
Mr Shepherd’s brother, and company director, 56-year-old Paul Shepherd is also accused of allowing the company to operate a waste disposal site without a permit, ignoring a suspension notice, and illegally depositing waste at the firm’s Whessoe Road depot.
The jury were told how, on a visit to the Whessoe Road site on April 22, 2011, Mr Dickinson saw Paul Shepherd depositing waste at the site, despite not having an Environment Agency permit.
The brothers deny all charges and the trial continues.