Director Guilty Of Allowing Illegal Export Of Waste Mattresses

Following a two-day trial, company director, Mark Paul Stone, and his company, Salhouse Norwich Ltd, have been found guilty of allowing an illegal waste site to operate from its site in Norwich.

A third defendant, Mark Ian Quinsey, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to running the illegal operation, failing to clear the site when told to by the Environment Agency, and illegally exporting waste. He was sentenced to 20 weeks custody which has been suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard that hundreds of tonnes of waste mattresses and mattress textiles were found stored on the site – almost 100 times as many as a registered exemption for the operation allowed.

Stone denied knowing that the waste site, off Rice Way on Salhouse Industrial Estate, run by their tenant, Quinsey, was illegal.

Quinsey, 39, trading as Salhouse Recyclers, had registered exemptions for an operation far smaller than the one he ran and should have applied for a permit.

Nicholas Ostrowski, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency (EA), told the court that he had deliberately breached environmental regulations and despite being served an enforcement notice to clear the site, had failed to do so.

Mr Ostrowski said when EA investigators visited the site in August 2015 following a report from a member of the public, they found the site so jammed full of badly stored mattresses and mattress textiles, there was a “serious risk to the environment”. The fire service was also concerned about the risk of fire, he said.

It was heard that during investigations Quinsey sent paperwork to the EA, which included evidence of a shipment of 27 compressed bales of waste to Egypt for recycling in March the previous year. However, Quinsey did not have the appropriate approvals in place for this export.

The court was told that an enforcement notice served on Quinsey in August was only partly complied with when some waste metals were removed.

No Environmental Management System

The EA also approached Salhouse Norwich Ltd and Stone, who were advised to clear the site and an action plan for the removal of the waste was requested but the waste still remains on site.

The magistrates were told the EA made five requests for a voluntary action plan from the company.

Quinsey, of The Lane, Briston, Norfolk, told investigators he had found a company in Egypt which would take the fabric for recycling but then there was a problem with Egyptian customs so he had to store the material until he found another outlet, which he was unable to find.

He didn’t contact the EA as he was worried his business would be closed down and had hoped to resolve the situation himself.

“This case shows how important it is to ensure that any new operation has been fully researched, properly permitted and any site used is adequate for the operation.”

Quinsey admitted that the site had no environmental management system, no fire suppression system, no fire detection system, no dust suppression system, no litter prevention infrastructure nor sealed drainage system. He also admitted having no insurance for his activities and no official lease on one of the buildings he used.

He said the business had left him in debt, claiming that it grew too quickly. He admitted he probably hadn’t done enough research.

Stone, 69, from Marleybone High Street, London, told investigators that Quinsey had said he had relevant permissions to carry out the waste operation. No checks were made to ensure these permissions were in place.

He said his company had concerns about the fire risk and were “horrified” by all the waste on site but were worried if they asked Quinsey to stop operating, he would leave them with a factory full of waste. He also admitted being aware that the operation was out of hand and perhaps should never have started.

An analytical chemist for the EA concluded that any plume from a fire at the site could contain toxic and harmful substances which could affect human health.

Mr Ostrowski said Quinsey, Stone and Salhouse Norwich Ltd had co-operated with the investigation and Quinsey had removed some waste from the site.

Quinsey pleaded guilty to operating a waste facility without a permit, failing to comply with an enforcement notice and exporting waste to Egypt without the appropriate permissions in place. He was sentenced to a total of 20 weeks custody which has been suspended for 18 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a contribution to costs of £720. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.

Following the trial, Stone and Salhouse Norwich Ltd were found guilty of knowingly permitting the operation of a waste facility without a permit. Stone and Salhouse Norwich Ltd will be sentenced on 5 May following a pre-sentence report.

After the hearing Environment Agency investigator Lorraine Machin said: “We acted quickly to try to get the occupier and landowner to clear the site because of the environmental and fire risk but the majority of the waste still remained on site.

“This case shows how important it is to ensure that any new operation has been fully researched, properly permitted and any site used is adequate for the operation.”

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