A Darlington businessman has been fined after continuously burning rubbish collected from residents.

Andrew Paterson, the owner of A1 Rubbish Removals Ltd, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, October 3 at Peterlee Magistrates Court to an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Since June 2021, the council’s environmental health department has received complaints from residents about smoke coming from a field behind Whessoe Villa in Burtree Lane.

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Council officers visited the farm on three occasions with colleagues from the Environment Agency and gave advice to Mr Paterson on how to get rid of waste.

A coordinated inspection of the farm was made in February with officers from the council, Environment Agency and Police in attendance.

The Northern Echo: The big hole dug for burning on the farmlandThe big hole dug for burning on the farmland (Image: DARLINGTON BOROUGH COUNCIL)

During this visit, a large pit had been dug in the paddock behind the farmhouse.

There were piles of ash around the pit, the charred remains of several mattresses in the bottom of the hole and smoke was still rising.

The Northern Echo: Charred remains of rubbish at the farmlandCharred remains of rubbish at the farmland (Image: DARLINGTON BOROUGH COUNCIL)

There were also mattresses in an A1 Rubbish Removal van next to the paddock entrance.

Mr Patterson was fined £649 and ordered to pay £150 costs and a £64 victim surcharge.

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Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy at Darlington Borough Council, said: “The legislation around waste disposal is vital to protect the environment from air, water, and soil pollution. In this instance, because Mr Patterson runs a business that charges residents to dispose of their rubbish, his flouting of the rules around waste disposal is even more shocking.

"I urge anyone wanting to get rid of large amounts of rubbish to check if any company they hire has a waste transfer. Alternatively, you can take rubbish to the tip or use our bulky waste collection service.”