A SKIP hire boss, sentenced to 18-months in prison for breaching environmental laws, was back in court yesterday (Wednesday, February 19) over unpaid fines in excess of £12,000.

Raymond Shepherd, of Albert Skip Hire in Darlington, has outstanding court fines of £12,725 for numerous offences dating back to 2007.

The 59-year-old appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court by video link from prison, where he is serving an 18-month sentence for dumping waste on an "industrial scale."

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Magistrates heard how Shepherd had incurred fines ranging from £15 to £5,000 over a seven-and-a-half year period for offences such as allowing an animal to stray on to a public highway and failing to produce his drivers’ licence.

If the matter remains unresolved, Shepherd, of Burnside Cottages, Rookhope, Weardale, could receive a further ten-month prison sentence that would run concurrent to his existing sentence.

Shepherd said he had been paying off the fines but had being forced to give up work due to his trial and subsequent prison sentence.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday, February 26, to allow him to seek legal advice.

Shepherd, who is also known as Anthony Shepherd, was convicted of operating a regulated facility without a licence, unlawfully depositing controlled waste and failing to comply with a suspension notice at Teesside Crown Court last year.

His brother, Paul Shepherd, 57, previously of West Musgrave Farm, Bishop Auckland, was given a six-month suspended jail sentence after being found guilty of operating a regulated facility without a licence.