Fine after EA officer punched while checking up on illegal waste notice

A man has been fined over £400 after he punched an Environment Agency (EA) officer checking on the progress of an order to remove illegal waste from his farm.

David House assaulted the officer during a visit to French’s Farm in Upton near Poole last August, Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court heard earlier this month (8 December).

The court heard that the officer was among a group of three EA employees visiting the farm to check whether House had complied with a formal notice to remove illegal waste from the site. Checks by the agency had previously found that the farm was being used for illegal storage and the disposal of domestic and commercial waste.

During the visit, House obstructed all three officers before trying to knock a camera out of the hand of an officer and striking him as he tried to take photos of the waste.

House was charged with two offences of obstruction and assault by beating and was arrested after he failed to attend a court hearing in March.

He initially denied the two offences, but changed his plea to guilty after legal advice. The tenant farmer’s solicitor said his client accepted the EA officers had a right to be on his site and were exercising a lawful power of entry.

House was fined £100 for each offence plus £165 costs and ordered to pay £50 compensation.

A spokesperson for the EA said: “We will not tolerate the use of violence against our officers while they are carrying out their lawful duties.”