Press release

Car scrap business owner fined by court

A Cornish man who operated an illegal car-breaking business in St Cleer and Bodmin has been ordered to pay £5,484 in fines and costs.

The court heard that the sites used by James Darke, for his JapScrap company over a 2-year period, were ‘unsightly with a clear risk of pollution’.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Darke, of The Sidings, Bugle, was fined after pleading guilty to depositing, keeping and breaking waste vehicles at Unit C, South West Business Park, St Cleer, without an environmental permit between 5 July and 9 September 2013, and at 11, Paardeberg Road, Bodmin, between 20 March 2014 and 20 March 2015.

The Environment Agency told the court that the permits were designed to ensure that people managing waste sites did so without having an adverse impact on the environment or community. All car breaking locations require environmental permits as the activity poses a significant risk to the environment, even on a small scale.

In June 2013, an Environment Agency officer received a report of illegal car breaking at St Cleer and found that there were no environmental permits or exemptions for the location.

Further investigation found that the site was breaking up cars without a permit and selling the parts on-line. Much of the advertising and marketing of the business was done via Facebook. The operator was first provided with advice and guidance on how to legitimately operate his business.

James Darke admitted the offences to the Environment Agency, agreeing to either comply or cease to trade.

He was offered a caution but did not respond and further investigation in March 2014 showed he had moved to the Bodmin site and was carrying out a similar business on this site.

Darke was given a final chance to accept a caution in January 2015, but did not respond.

The Environment Agency said the offences had been deliberate and driven by financial motives.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said:

Darke was aware, after the first investigation, of what was required. He did not respond to the formal caution offer and simply relocated his car breaking business and carried on, without a permit, until caught again. Breaking vehicles without an environmental permit poses significant risk of pollution, and Darke had ignored several warnings, and then moved from one site to another.

He admitted 2 offences of operating a regulated facility of depositing, keeping and breaking waste vehicles without an environmental permit, contrary to regulations 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) regulations 2010. Darke was fined £640 and ordered to pay a £64 victim surcharge and £4,780 costs by Bodmin magistrates.