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Skip hire firm "tipped waste in front of officials"
A FAMILY-RUN skip hire firm repeatedly flouted the law by continuing to operate after being ordered to shut down, a court heard yesterday (Wednesday, September 18).
After its permit was revoked, vehicles continued to tip waste at the Darlington-based Albert Hill Skip Hire company – even as an Environment Agency officer watched, Teesside Crown Court was told.
In July 2011, the company was ordered to suspend all activities at its Dodsworth Street waste transfer site after the Environment Agency raised concerns about conditions there.
The court has heard that an inspection in June 2011 uncovered a series of hazards around the site – including asbestos sheeting left uncovered in skips, several large mounds of ‘stock-piled’, un-segregated mixed waste and significant damage to the company’s almost-full waste transfer building.
Despite the subsequent suspension order, the firm continued to operate, even during visits from the Environment Agency, it has been claimed.
Environment Agency officer Edward Mark Condra, giving evidence at the trial of company director Paul Shepherd, 56, and his brother Raymond, 58, said he had visited the site on a number of occasions after the suspension order was issued.
He said on one occasion, he had been standing in plain sight wearing high-visibility clothing marked ‘Environment Agency’ when a vehicle drove into the site and tipped its load of waste straight onto the ground.
He also claimed to have witnessed foreign workers sorting waste in a building he deemed to be unstable and in a poor state of repair.
He said: “A suspension order was made to prevent waste being brought into the site. We stopped the operation because work needed to be done and improvements needed to be made.
“By that point, the situation was quite serious, it is not something we do lightly.
“If we see a disorderly site, we know it is being run in a disorderly manner. It is a sign of poor management, waste being piled up and just left in skips.”
Mr Condra said five visits – made between July and November 2011 – revealed no sign of improvement at the site, with conditions there seeming to have deteriorated instead.
The Shepherd brothers deny a number of charges relating to serious environmental breaches at the Dodsworth Street site as well at as their site on Whessoe Road, Darlington and at West Musgrave Farm, operated by the company in St Helen Auckland, County Durham.
The trial continues.