Trio who dumped asbestos in Stevenage sentenced

An Environment Agency officer assessing asbestos waste dumped in Essex

An Environment Agency officer assessing asbestos waste dumped in Essex - Credit: Archant

THREE men who put the public’s health at risk by dumping toxic waste across three counties have been given suspended prison sentences.

Asbestos waste being dumped at Norton Road in Stevenage

Asbestos waste being dumped at Norton Road in Stevenage - Credit: Archant

More than 360 tonnes of waste containing asbestos was fly-tipped in Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent, with waste twice dumped in Norton Road, Stevenage.

A1 Bins and Waste Ltd’s director David Tuffen and manager Nigel Hickman pleaded guilty to running an illegal site between June 2008 and August 2009 in Benfleet, Essex, where Environment Agency officers found 72 large skips containing three different types of asbestos.

The pair also paid driver Moses Brede £500 a load to dump the waste, an act he admitted carrying out five times between February and May 2009.

Hickman also admitted writing fake invoices and consignment notes which appeared to show that the hazardous waste had been taken to and signed for by an Oxfordshire landfill site.

Tuffen, 53, of The Oaks, Billericay, was given a two-year suspended prison sentence while Hickman, 40, of Cloda Avenue, Brynock, Port Talbot, was sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years.

Both were ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Most Read

Brede, 49, of Cappel Lane, Stanstead Abbotts, was given a one-year prison sentence for each of five offences to run concurrently, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay £500 towards costs.

At last Thursday’s sentencing at Chelmsford Crown Court, judge Charles Gratwicke said: “Each of you has not paid the slightest regard for the regulations. You all flouted the law for financial gain putting public health at risk.”

A proceeds of crime confiscation hearing is due to be held later this year.

Speaking after the hearing, the Environment Agency’s environmental crime team leader Lesley Robertson said: “This case was made worse by the hazardous nature of the waste, namely three types of asbestos, which was being illegally stored at the site in Benfleet, further aggravated by the fact that the company the defendants operated claimed to be ‘specialist contractors for the disposal of asbestos waste’, preying on others’ trustworthiness.

“This case should also be a warning to legitimate businesses, to ensure that they fulfil their duty of care when employing a business or person to dispose of their waste, including auditing any paperwork that they should receive for the disposal of the waste – don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions.”