A BUSINESSMAN has been fined after he was filmed obstructing Environment Agency (EA) staff carrying out an investigation into his behaviour.

Glenn Norman Walsh pleaded guilty to four charges when he appeared before Teesside Magistrates' Court.

The 56-year-old, of Blue House Point Road, Portrack, Stockton, was fined £1,173 and ordered to pay legal costs and a victim surcharge amounting to a total of £4,790.

He pleaded guilty to one offence of breaching the terms of his environmental permit, one of failing to comply with an enforcement notice, and another of obstructing an Environment Agency officer in the exercise of his duties.


Glenn Walsh has been fined after he breached his environmental permit

EA officers visited SIS Plastics at Stockton where they found a number of breaches, including waste being stored without fire breaks, non-permitted waste accepted on to site, waste stored loose or in insecure containers, and waste being stored on land outside of the site.

During one visit officers were being shown around the site by the manager when Walsh approached angry and agitated, shouting at the officers to leave, and was abusive about one of them. The officers left without being able to inspect the premises.

The incident was captured on the officer’s body worn video camera and the footage was played to the court before sentence.

Speaking after the hearing, Paul Whitehill, of the agency, said: “Deliberately flouting environmental permits impacts on the environment and local community as well as undercutting legitimate businesses who abide by their permits.

“We take offences such as this extremely seriously and I hope this sends out a message to others that we will take appropriate action for anyone who disregards the law.”

Environment Agency enforcement officers in the north east first trialled the use of body worn cameras last year to help reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour, assaults and threats against staff. They are currently being rolled out to teams elsewhere in the country.

He added: “Our officers are doing an important job ensuring that waste sites are operating within the law and it’s not acceptable for them to be subject to abuse such as this. The safety of our staff is paramount and they shouldn’t have to put up with any kind of abusive or threatening behaviour.

“Our preference is for the cameras to prevent hostility in the first place and I hope this serves as a warning to others that their actions are being recorded and will be used in future court proceedings.”