Welsh waste criminals ordered to pay over £750k or face jail
The directors of biofuel company Lancashire Fuel 4U Limited have been ordered to pay over £750,000, one of North Wales’s largest ever fines, following their illegal storage of over 4,000 tonnes of waste.
Although warned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) that they would need a special permit for the site to continue operating, prosecution told Caernarfon Crown Court that the pair ignored the warning and continued their illegal activity, without applying for a permit, for ‘financial gain’.
The pair had been charged NRW after the company reportedly ignored the notice just months before a week-long fire started at the site in May 2014. A second fire broke out at the company’s premises in Flintshire a year later in May 2015, causing 40 people to be evacuated.
Both were given suspended sentences (Ogg of 12 months and Baison 11 months) and banned from being directors last November, before the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing began to determine how much profit they had made from their illegal business.
As well as a confiscation order of £694,000, the two will have to pay an additional £58,000 in costs.
In the hearing Judge Huw Rees told Ogg and Baison that they would have three months to pay the order, which was made on the basis of profits they amassed through the running of the illegal waste operation, or face four years imprisonment.
Executive Director of Operations at Natural Resources Wales, Tim Jones, said: “The actions taken by Mr Baison and Mr Ogg led to at least two fires at the Saltney site which places the health of local people at risk as well as causing environmental pollution to the surrounding area and nearby River Dee.
“We will always try to work with companies to make sure they comply with the conditions in their permit, but in cases like this, we have to step in and take legal action to ensure the safety of the local environment and community and create a level playing field for responsible businesses.
“NRW has supported the site owner in the removal of all waste to ensure the site no longer poses any threat to the environment.”