A County Durham man whose firm made nearly £160k illegally collecting and moving waste to unknown locations will have to pay just £10,000 in fines.

Shildon man Robert Surtees failed to follow rules to help protect the environment by providing details of where the waste was taken to the Environment Agency.

His company B&S Recycling Ltd was paid £157,963,71 to collect 170 loads of waste, about 25,000 tonnes, from sites in Stockton and Birtley between September 2020 and the same month in 2022.

Waste carriers must be registered and follow strict regulations including recording where waste is collected and taken to, but Surtees’ registration had expired in July of 2020 and no information was recorded for any of the 170 collections.

In an Environment Agency interview in October 2022 he denied dumping the waste at his own site in County Durham and claimed it had been mixed with mag-lime and spread on farmers fields.

He was ordered to provide the information by the end of that month, but failed to respond.

It came after a tip-off that the firm may have been illegally depositing waste.

Appeared before Durham Crown Court on Monday (May 13) the 67-year-old, of Eskdale Gardens, Shildon, was fined £4,250 and ordered to pay £5,650 in costs and a victim surcharge.

He previously admitted failing to provide information about where he transported the waste.

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Gary Wallace from the Environment Agency said: “The waste industry is strictly regulated to prevent pollution. Duty of care legislation ensures we know what waste is being transported, who is transporting it and where to, ensuring the community and environment is protected.

“Surtees totally disregarded these regulations, profiting from transporting a large amount waste without any evidence of where it’s been deposited potentially causing harm to the environment as well as undermining legitimate waste carriers who operate within the law.”

Administrators were called in to wind up B&S Recycling Ltd in June 2023.