Woman given custodial sentence for Hernhill waste crime

28th February 2020


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A Kent woman whose family business ran an illegal waste operation has been given a 30-week custodial sentence.

The woman helped her father and sister run the operation for two years at their farm near Faversham. The Environment Agency prosecuted the family after obtaining evidence that 135 lorry loads of soil and builders' waste were dumped and treated at the farm in Hernhill between 2014 and 2016. The work required an environmental permit, which they did not have.In April 2015, Agency and Kent Police officers raided the farm and found piles of waste soils and rubble, as well as processing machinery.

During the trial at Maidstone Crown Court in March 2019, the court heard from an expert witness that the volume of materials on site had increased by more than 40,000 cubic metres between January 2011 and September 2015 – roughly 53,000 tonnes of material. The jury found the family guilty of breaking environmental law.

A lorry driver and a building supplies firm owner gave statements to the Agency, saying that the father was their main contact at the farm, despite him saying in interview that he did not encourage firms to drop waste there.

At the hearing, the court heard that the woman, who owned part of the farm, allowed her father to use it to deposit and treat the materials. She was given a 26-week custodial sentence for one count of breaching the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. She received an additional four-week custodial sentence for failing to appear at court for sentencing.

A warrant remains in force for the arrest of her father, who failed to attend court for sentencing in March. In July 2019 the sister was sentenced to six weeks in prison, suspended for two years. She was also given 28 days in jail for breaching the terms of her bail by not attending court in March, but walked free from court having already served more than half of this amount.

Each family member was convicted of breaching the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

Image credit: iStock

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