Rainham serial fly-tipper part of 'highly organised' operation to illegally dump waste in Barking
PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:49 31 May 2019
Three fly-tippers have been ordered to pay back more than £230,000 after they illegally dumped waste in a "highly-organised" operation in Barking, Havering and Essex.
William Jones, of Jack Clow Road, Stratford, Sean Collard, of New Road, Rainham, and Glenn Harper, of Arterial Road, Wickford, were convicted of dumping hundreds of tonnes of waste at five locations across Barking, Havering, Hertfordshire and Essex between 2012 and 2014.
Investigators from the Environment Agency first discovered the men had broken into a yard in Choats Road, Barking in October 2012.
CCTV showed them dumping a mix of household waste, wood and textiles from a lorry with false number plates.
There was so much waste on board that it was spilling out onto the ground.
Jones, 39, Harper, 33, and Collard, 53, struck again the following month at a printing works in Thurrock.
The men used an articulated lorry to tip 640 tonnes of stones, rubble, earth, clay and chalk at the site in Oliver Road, costing the landowners more than £120,000 to clear.
On New Year's Day in 2013, Jones rented a yard from Network Rail in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire.
Environment Agency (EA) officers later found that the site was filled with rotting waste wrapped in bales of black plastic.
It would be a further nine months before the gang struck again in Barking. In October 2013, agency investigators pursued a lorry driven by Collard between two addresses either side of the A13.
He was seen dumping more waste at a building site in Abbey Road and he was soon joined by Jones and Harper in a Citroen van.
The final act in the gang's 18-month spree of dumping waste illegally, took place with a series of visits to a former landfill site in Rainham in 2014.
The EA identified them using a lorry to move concrete blocks designed to prevent access.
Sitting at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Judge Patricia Lees said the men's criminal behaviour was motivated by money, with a financial cost to landowners, residents and the public purse.
Jones was jailed for 13 months and ordered to pay £80,000 in three months or have his jail term extended by 18 months.
Harper was jailed for 12 months and ordered to pay back £146,755 within three months or face an additional two years in prison.
Collard was given a eight months suspended sentence for two years, 200 hours of unpaid work and a curfew between 7.30pm and 5.30am in force for three months.
The EA awarded costs against Collard of £10,000.
Emma Viner, area enforcement manager for the EA, said: "Jones, Harper and Collard had no concern for the cost to the landowners or taxpayers, less still, the harm dumping hundreds of tonnes of waste would have on the environment.
"This highly-organised operation broke the law on a commercial scale, but that same law caught up with them in the end.
"The prison sentences laid down in court by the judge show crime does not pay, also proven by more than £200,000 recovered from the men in a proceeds of crime order or court costs."
Harper and Collard each pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching environmental law and Jones admitted three counts.