A confiscation order totaling Pound 236,554.00 has been granted by the Crown Court sitting at Belfast on 30th March 2023 against Mr. John Spratt (77) of Ballybeen Road, Comber, County Down for keeping and disposing controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution and without a license contrary to the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997.
The Confiscation Order granted equates to the criminal benefit generated by Mr. Spratt from the illegal disposal of controlled waste at a site on the Ballybeen Road, Comber, County Down.
In 2015 officers from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) commenced an investigation in relation to a site controlled and operated by Mr. John Spratt which did not have a waste management license nor did it have planning approval. At the site NIEA officers observed two areas of in-fill consisting of; plastic, textiles along with construction and demolition controlled waste. These types of waste should be treated in a materials recycling facility or disposed of at an appropriately authorised landfill.
Paul Donnelly, Chief Executive of the NIEA said: "This was a significant pollution incident involving the illegal disposal and keeping of controlled waste without licenses or planning approval. Environmental offenders can inflict significant and long term damage on our environment, deprive communities of valuable natural resources and place considerable burden on the public purse through remediation and clean up. NIEA will vigorously pursue anyone who damages our natural environment through the courts to ensure that we not only seek justice and damages, but to ensure that we continue to protect our precious natural resources."
The act of infilling the waste at this unauthorised area ultimately undercuts the legitimate waste industry, evades landfill tax and leads to environmental degradation.
Mr. Spratt pleaded guilty on 13th May 2019 to the charges of disposing and keeping of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution contrary to the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997.
Mr. Spratt was given 3 months to pay the confiscation order with a default term set at 3 years imprisonment in the event of non-payment.
In addition he was sentenced to 3 years custody (suspended for 3 years) on counts 9, 10 and 16 (listed in the indictment). Counts 3 to 8 were left on the books.