A farmer has been fined and ordered to pay back more than £440,000 said to be the financial benefit of operating two illegal landfill sites.
Harvey Stringer was prosecuted by the Environment Agency after a surveillance operation in 2011 saw waste being tipped in a disused quarry at Holywell Farm, and on land off Spittal Hardwick Lane, both at Castleford, without the proper permits in force. Christopher Badger prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court on Friday the farmer had not only made income from charging for the waste disposal but had avoided the costs involved at a legal site or having to pay landfill tax.
Stringer, 47, of Holywell Farm, was fined a total of £7,500 after admitting two offences of operating illegal sites and one of illegally burning waste. He was also ordered to pay £23,500 in costs.
Judge Paula Tyler also made a confiscation order in the sum of £447,199.50 after it was agreed that was his financial benefit.
He was given six months to pay after the court was told he will have to sell land to cover the order.
David Dixon representing him told the court that Stringer’s father, who had owned the land, had died in 2010 and he had wrongly assumed when he took over that the correct permits were in place.
He said the farmer was a man of previous good character and had not been deliberately flouting the law. The effect on him and his family would be substantial. Judge Tyler said she was prepared to accept he was disorganised after his father’s death and his actions were not deliberate but he should have checked whether the appropriate permits were in place.