Corringham man jailed for operating illegal waste site

A 61-year-old man who repeatedly ignored Environment Agency warnings about depositing, storing and treating waste illegally has been jailed.

Mark James, of Fobbing Road, Corringham, ran an illegal waste site at an industrial estate at Chadwell St Mary near Tilbury between December 9 2022 and June 29 2023.

Environment Agency officers visited the site numerous times between December 9 2022 and October 13 2023. During visits, piles of waste comprised of brick rubble, soils, plastic, wood and metal were found.

Officers provided advice and guidance to James on a number of occasions both during this period and in preceding years. Despite this, they were forced to issue a statutory notice ordering him to clear up the site.

However, James failed to clear his site and provide waste transfer notes in line with requirements set out in the statutory notice. He was charged with carrying out a waste operation at the Bennett’s Industrial Estate site.

James pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on November 8 2023. He returned to Basildon Crown Court on January 12 to be sentenced.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Solicitor Advocate Sarah Dunne told the court that James’ activities had allowed him to avoid the fees for lawful disposal. He had undermined lawful competitors and caused significant interference with the legitimate activities of industrial estate users and business owners.

His Honour Judge Andrew Hurst said James had “set your face against all efforts that the Environment Agency had expended on getting you to comply”. He described James as “defiant” and said he had shown “blatant contempt”.

He added: “What else could the Environment Agency do apart from rolling up their sleeves, getting some spades and shovels and doing it for you.”

James was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and told to pay a victim surcharge of £187.

East Anglia Area Enforcement Team Leader Lesley Robertson said: “Despite the Environment Agency serving a notice on James to remove waste, he continued to deposit, store and treat waste illegally without an environmental permit.

“Mr James operated at a distinct commercial advantage, undermining legitimate business with little or no regard for the environment. By imposing this sentence HHJ Hurst demonstrated how seriously he viewed his activities and behaviour.”

“We take illegal waste activity very seriously and will not hesitate to disrupt criminal activity and prosecute those responsible.”

Anyone with suspicions of waste crime can call our incident hotline 0800 807060, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.