Waste criminal captured and jailed after going on the run

A West Sussex-based waste criminal has been sentenced to 12 months in jail and fined £3,000 in costs after ignoring notices served by the Environmental Agency (EA) and fleeing prosecution.

Waste criminal captured and jailed after going on the run

Tom McCabe of Sea Lane in Worthing, together with his partner, Kim Box, started Matrix Bio Logistics, a waste wood storage and processing company in January 2012 on leased land at the Squires Industrial Estate in Uckfield, East Sussex.

Just four weeks after McCabe was granted a permit exemption, a notice was served by the EA requiring him to clear the amount of waste wood stored on site, which had already reached 1,200 tonnes, 2.5 times the 500-tonne limit agreed with the EA.

Instead of complying with the EA’s notice, McCabe sold his company for £1 and went on the run. In July, in McCabe’s absence, His Honour Judge Hayward at Hove Crown Court handed Box a 12-month community service order with 200 hours of unpaid work.

McCabe, referred to as a “crook” by Judge Hayward, was traced by the EA’s specialist crime officers and eventually caught at Heathrow airport trying to board a plane to Dubai. He was sentenced yesterday (22 August) at Lewes Crown Court after pleading guilty.

The pile of wood waste accrued by McCabe will now have to be cleared by the landowners of the Matrix Bio Logistics site, which will reportedly cost between £100,000 and £200,000.

Mountain of waste “serious blight on the local community”

Ian Walton of the EA said: “I am pleased with the verdict as this case sends a clear message to unscrupulous waste operators that crime does not pay and we will take all measures to ensure offenders face justice. As a result of his activities, Mr McCabe left a huge mountain of waste behind, which has been a serious blight on the local community.”

Judge Hayward said: “This was an appalling tale and took place with no thought for the landowner. He leased the land, took money for the waste and then evaded detection.”

More information about how the EA investigates waste crime can be found in Resource’s feature article.