Two brothers who operated an illegal scrap yard after it was liquidated have been heavily fined in court and ordered to clear hundreds of vehicles from the site. 

Brothers Yusuf Mohammed, 48, and Munir Mohammed, 58, both of Phoenix Sidings in Stockton-On-Tees, both pleaded guilty to two offences of operating an illegal scrap yard when they appeared at Teesside Crown Court on September 18.

The brothers, who were company directors of now liquidated Jap Parts Ltd, a scrap vehicle site which became a fire risk, have been ordered to clear the illegal scrap site following an investigation by the Environment Agency.

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They continued to operate despite the liquidation of the company and the loss of its environmental permit and failed to engage with Environment Agency officers during the investigation.

They were both ordered to pay £1,591 in fines and costs and given a remediation order to clear the site of all of the remaining scrap vehicles.

The court heard that the brothers owned two areas of land next to each other at Stockton-On-Tees, at Britannia Road and Phoenix Sidings – near to the railway line, homes and businesses.

Their company, Jap Parts Ltd had an environmental permit in place to run a scrap vehicle site on the Phoenix Sidings land.

The Northern Echo: The cars stored on the Stockton siteThe cars stored on the Stockton site (Image: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY)

In July 2019, Environment Agency officers attended the site after receiving reports of illegal scrap vehicle storage.

The Phoenix Sidings site was full of vehicles, while the Britannia Road site, for which there was no permit, also had about 40 scrap vehicles stored on it.

Enquiries revealed that Jap Parts Ltd was in liquidation and had stopped trading in November 2014.

The brothers had set up a new company, Jap Parts (North) Ltd, which did not have an environmental permit for activity on either site.

Yusif Mohammed confirmed the new company started trading in December 2014, with the vehicle stock transferring to the new company.

The investigation also revealed that no scrap vehicles had left the site between 2013 and 2018, meaning the terms of the original permit – which stated vehicles must not be kept for more than three years - had been breached.

The Environment Agency asked the brothers for an action plan to clear the scrap vehicles from both sites.

In September of the same year, Environment Agency officers met the brothers on site.

Officers could see around 300 scrap vehicles.

They raised concerns about the fire risk as many of the vehicles had not been de-polluted – where the hazardous liquids such as fuel and oil are removed and stored safely for disposal.

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The brothers were told to clear the site by the end of September.

The defendants said they thought the permit for Jap Parts Ltd would move to their new company, but they were told this was not the case.

Between September 2019 and the summer of 2021, the Environment Agency sent a number of statutory notices requiring the defendants to provide more information about waste transfer, storage and clearing the site, and also a request for them to attend an interview under caution – all of these were ignored. 

Following the court decision, Gary Wallace, area environment manager for the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “The storage and dismantling of scrap vehicles are strictly regulated because of the pollution risks of hazardous liquid such as oil, fuel and brake fluids, as well as batteries.

“Dismantling must be done using methods to reduce the risk to the environment, and the waste stored pending recovery or disposal. Operators must have an environmental permit to carry out these activities.

“This was a lengthy investigation by our officers where the defendants were non-compliant and I’m pleased there is now a court order in place to ensure the clearance of the site once and for all.”