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Skip hire firm 'could not care less about the environment' - court told
THE man behind a controversial skip-hire firm has denied claims that his company “could not care less” about the environment and was simply out to make money.
In heated exchanges at Teesside Crown Court, Raymond Shepherd said the assertions by prosecutor Lee Fish, representing the Environment Agency were false and “totally wrong”.
Mr Shepherd, 58, is on trial along with his younger brother Paul and the Darlington-based company Albert Hill Skip Hire.
He has denied operating a waste transfer site at Dodsworth Street, Darlington, without an Environment Agency permit and illegally depositing waste at the 60 acre Shepherd-family farm, West Musgrave Farm, near Bishop Auckland. Mr Shepherd also denies flouting a suspension notice imposed on the company by the agency.
Paul Shepherd, 56, denies the permit and suspension offences.
In the closing stages of his evidence, Raymond Shepherd was asked by Mr Fish if he agreed that disposing of waste could be expensive.
He replied that it could be if it was taken to the wrong place or disposed of at landfill.
Mr Fish countered: “That is why at Dodsworth Street the waste was just being stockpiled so you did not have to get rid of it.
“That is why West Musgrave Farm was turned into a tip.”
Mr Shepherd said: “That is false.”
Mr Fish said Mr Shepherd and his company did not care about the environment and could not care less about the regulations that existed to control waste.
He said: “You [Mr Shepherd] and your company – for it is your company – do not care about the law do you?
“All this company cares about is making money.”
Mr Shepherd said that was totally wrong and reiterated his previous claims that Defra and the Secretary of State had approved the use of plasterboard – which was being dumped at West Musgrave Farm – as use for bedding for cattle at the farm.
The Environment Agency says Dodsworth Street was full to the brim with waste and there was barely room to work.
Its inspectors also found large amounts of waste gypsum and other building materials in soil at West Musgrave Farm, although the Shepherds have previously called an expert witness who countered those findings.
The trial, which could conclude later this week, continues.