On 30 April 2015, Robert Murphy, 48, of Ravens Way, Burton-upon-Trent Staffordshire was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court to 7 months imprisonment, following a contested Newton Hearing for an offence of operating a waste facility on land off the A38 Eggington near Burton-upon-Trent.
Murphy, who did not own the land, continued to operate on the site despite advice and guidance, a stop letter, the changing of the locks to the site entrance, the deployment of CCTV and the deployment of a concrete block by the Environment Agency to prevent access to the land.
Over a 15-month period from 3 January 2013 to 28 June 2014, Murphy used the land which belonged to a vulnerable local couple to deposit, store and burn large quantities of mixed waste including metal, wood, electrical items and construction and demolition waste. Murphy did not have permission to use the land near Burton-upon-Trent nor did he have an environmental permit. The land has been left in a state of complete ruin.
The court heard from a number of witnesses, one of whom gave evidence behind screens, and HHJ Chambers concluded that an immediate custodial sentence was the only option given the seriousness of the defendant’s actions.
Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 have been scheduled for 12 June 2015 to seek compensation for the landowner to pay for some of the clean up costs.
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer involved with the investigation said:
Throughout the investigations Mr Murphy was given a number of opportunities to stop his illegal activities but continued to show a complete disregard towards the environment, landowners and authority.
This prosecution demonstrates that we take cases such as this very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute if necessary, to protect the environment and local communities.