Crackdown on an illegal waste site

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A MAN has been prosecuted for running an open illegal landfill site in Walberton, despite warnings about his unlawful activities.

The prosecution was brought as part of Operation Mosaic, a multi-agency initiative that included the Environment Agency, the police, local authorities and environmental organisations, which is cracking down on waste crime in the area.

Gary Boucher, who ran the illegal business at Cherry Tree Nursery, Eastergate Lane, appeared before Worthing Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday.

He pleaded guilty to 11 offences and was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years.

He was also given a curfew order to remain indoors between 7pm and 7am for three months and ordered to pay costs of £800.

The Court heard Boucher, who lived on the disused nursery premises, was visited by the Environment Agency back in July, 2012.

Officers inspected the site and found that it was being used as an open landfill.

There were two areas where fires had been burning and one fire was still ablaze.

The ash and items there indicated substantial long-term burning of all kinds of waste, including TVs, other electrical items, furniture and mattresses.

There were piles of household waste in black bin bags apparently stacked ready to be burned. Officers also saw about 20 tipped loads of soil waste. There were also many old tyres as well as deposits of asbestos.

Boucher was interviewed and gave a statement which claimed tradesmen were responsible for dumping the waste and because of threats to him and his animals, he had been forced to allow them to do so.

Boucher was served with a Stop Notice in May, 2013, the first of its kind to be used in England.

However, Environment Agency officers continued to visit the site and found evidence of more waste being dumped and burned.