Tuesday 5 March 2024
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Nottingham man jailed for operating three illegal waste sites

The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted a Nottingham man who operated three illegal waste sites in the East Midlands. 

 

At Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday 19 December 2023, Paul Riina-Moretti, 46, of Sneinton Dale, Nottingham, received a 10-month custodial sentence and was disqualified as a director for seven years.

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He had previously admitted three offences of operating a waste facility without an Environmental permit.

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The court heard that a major fire broke out at the biggest site, Oakham Farm, Forest Lane, near Walesby in north Nottinghamshire, which took the Fire Service over a month to put out in the autumn of 2016.

 

The other sites were at Hathernware Industrial Estate, Rempstone Road, Normanton-on-the-Soar, and Horse Leys Farm, Melton Road, Burton on the Wolds.

 

Also sentenced at the same hearing was Paul Billingham, 55, of Wolverhampton Road West, Willenhall, who admitted depositing waste at the three sites. He received a six-month custodial sentence which was suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

 

An investigation by the Environment Agency discovered that Riina-Moretti was operating the three sites illegally without an Environmental Permit.

  

Waste was deposited in vast quantities and there was no real plan as to how it was going to be processed. 

 

At Oakham Farm, the defendant had rented two former poultry production units telling farm officials that he wanted to store clean plastics.

 

He said that his intention was that the plastics would be transferred to an incinerator for burning and converting to energy. 

 

However, the reality was that significant amounts of mixed waste were deposited and stored at the site a where a fire broke out on 21 September 2016. 

 

It generated a huge plume of smoke and residents at nearby properties were required to close doors and windows while one mother and baby were forced to move out temporarily due to the smoke. 

 

Properties were covered in smoke and smog and there was the distinctive smell of burning plastic. Smoke was still noticeable five days later and the fire was not fully extinguished until 7 November 2016.  

 

The fire completely destroyed the two poultry units which resulted in the landowner incurring clear up costs of £478,000. 

 

Environment Agency officers also gained CCTV pictures from the farm which showed Billingham to be a frequent visitor from the end of August 2016 into September. 

 

Footage showed Billingham driving an articulated lorry and trailer to deposit waste at the site on 13 occasions. 

 

At Hathernware Industrial Estate, Environment Agency officers received complaints about waste being dumped. 

 

They discovered that some 100 black polythene wrapped bales had been stored at the front of the warehouse.  

 

Similar baled waste was stored at Horse Leys Farm. 

 

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: 

 

“We welcome these sentences which should act as a deterrent to others who are considering flouting the law.   

 

“These sites posed a significant environmental threat due to the high risk of fire and potentially significant impact to local communities and amenities.  

 

“As a regulator, the Environment Agency will not hesitate to pursue individuals and companies that fail to meet its obligations to the environment. 

 

“The conditions of an environmental permit are designed to protect people and the environment.    

 

“Failure to comply with these legal requirements is a serious offence that can damage the environment, harm human health and undermine local legitimate waste companies.   

 

“If anyone is suspicious of waste activities they should call our 24/7 hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers anonymously and in confidence on 0800 555 111.”   

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