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68-year-old is in prison after repeated waste off ences spanning the past decade. Stephen Lack, from Corby, was responsible for an illegal waste site that put human health and the environment at risk.

In January 2021, Northampton Crown Court sentenced Lack to 18 months immediate imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to breaching the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 at a hearing in October 2020. Trading as Abbey Skips, Lack repeatedly stockpiled waste on a site in Fineshade without the necessary permits. Any business that handles, stores, treats or disposes of waste must hold the right Environment Agency permits to ensure precautions are taken to protect people and nature from harm.

The previous hearing in October 2020 heard how Lack repeatedly and deliberately ignored Environment Agency advice and warnings that his actions were illegal and dangerous.

His activities risked contaminating nearby woods and farmland, caused odours and toxic smoke and could have attracted flies and other vermin. He also saved thousands of pounds by burning and burying his waste rather than disposing of it lawfully.

Lack did have a permit to run the waste site in 2009, but a year later was in court for illegally burning waste. Despite being ordered to pay thousands in fines and costs, he continued to offend. His permit was revoked in 2011 and he was ordered to clear the site.

When officers followed up in 2012, it appeared Lack was complying, but five years later the local community began to make complaints. Environment Agency officers found waste was again being stored and burnt on the site. They warned him to stop the activities, which he ignored, and officers discovered he was also storing a further 1,000 tonnes of waste at a second site.

In 2019 Lack pleaded guilty to a number of charges and was handed a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, for “intentionally and flagrantly disregarding the law”. However, he continued his activities, including illegal burning. He was arrested and released on bail, but warned he would be remanded if he was found to be involved in any waste activity.

In summer 2020 Lack breached bail conditions, and he was again arrested in September following further evidence of burning and burial of waste. The judge made an order requiring him to clean up the site within the next 12 months, and adjourned the consideration of a claim for more than £30,000 Environment Agency costs until March 2021.

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