Skip hire company at centre of viral video given EA fine

A Wigan-based skip hire company that has made national news in a video showing the contents of one of its skip being emptied into a front garden has been fined for six unrelated abuses of environmental protection laws.

Skip hire company at centre of viral video given EA fine
Ainscough Skip Hire's Wallgate yard when inspected by the Environment Agency
Ainscough Skip Hire was last week (6 December) fined £42,870 and made to pay prosecution costs after a private prosecution by the Environment Agency (EA).

The prosecution followed an initial inspection in October 2014 and a further year-long surveillance operation at Ainscough’s Miry Lane yard in the Wallgate area of the town, which found that the company’s permit conditions were being repeatedly broken.

The company admitted to storing waste collected in its skips improperly, outside of its licensed storage building and outside the permitted area of the yard. It also pled guilty to allowing mud from the yard to contaminate a section of public highway.

Skip dump making national news

A week after the fine was handed out, a video that appears to show employees of Ainscough emptying a full skip full of black bags, toys and a mattress in a customer’s front garden has been posted onto the sites of several national news outlets. The newspapers report that the incident occurred because the customer refused to pay for the container’s hire.

The video, which is at least a year old, having previously been posted to YouTube in July 2015, shows the skip bearing Ainscough’s name and phone number being lifted onto a lorry, before it is backed up to the garden and tipped. An operative then climbs into the upturned skip to make sure everything has been emptied into the pile of waste.

This is not the first time that video of waste from the company’s skips being dumped on someone’s property has been posted. In 2012, a YouTube account under the name of Louise Yates, who is listed as a Director of Ainscough Recycling Ltd, posted a YouTube video of an Ainscough skip lorry emptying its contents across a driveway and pavement. The video description reads: ‘ainscough skip hire, what happens when you dont pay for your skip’ [sic].

When contacted by the Sun for a response to the video currently going viral, Sean Ainscough, the son of Ainscough Skip Hire’s owner said that the company had given the customer six weeks to pay a bill of £90-£100.

He told the paper: “She was given about six weeks to pay and when the date came, she sent us abusive messages about the cost and for the fact she couldn't pay. She wanted the skip for free, but we're not running a charity.

“If we are extremely busy and they're not there when we take the skip, we let them call in and pay at the office a bit later. But given the amount of time that had lapsed in which she was given to pay, it was very reasonable. When you don't pay a debt, they come and remove your stuff. All we did was give her her stuff back.”

Asked by Resource what a skip hire company should do if it is struggling to obtain payment from a customer, Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, which represents businesses from the waste and recycling industries, commented: “If they have an agreement with the customer then they obviously should go to the small claims court to recover their payment.”