Press release

Man ordered to pay for spreading sewage rags and sanitary litter

Waste from cess pits, septic tanks, catch pits and grease traps was tipped on a field in Norfolk, a court was told on Friday (25 July).

Sewage waste spread across the field
Sewage waste spread across the field

Environment Agency officers found sewage rag and sanitary litter spread across a field used by Richard Fiddian, trading as Norfolk Forest Products. They estimated that 491,851gallons (2,236 m3) of waste was deposited on the site over nearly 3 years.

Fiddian was ordered by Norwich Crown Court to hand over £20,125 proceeds under the Proceeds of Crime Act and was also fined £750 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,375.

Fiddian pleaded guilty at an earlier magistrates’ court hearing and was committed to the crown court for a proceeds of crime application and sentencing.

Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that although Fiddian was registered to transport waste legally, his site at North Barningham was not allowed to take it.

She said waste including septic tank and cess pit waste had been repeatedly spread over the land between April 2010 and February 2013.

She also said:

Waste identified on the land included soiled condoms, tampons, sanitary towels, baby wipes, toilet paper and other unidentifiable rag. It smelt strongly of sewage.

Fiddian admitted using the site illegally.

Drinking water borehole put at risk

Mrs McDonald told the court that the site is in a designated Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, a designation to protect ground water and surface water from contamination.

Anglian Water Services also has a borehole nearby and takes water from the area. Mrs McDonald said:

High amounts of nitrates in groundwater used for public drinking supplies can be harmful to human health, so water companies have to treat it to makes sure that levels are low. This causes them more expense which will ultimately be passed on to consumers.

Fiddian told investigating officers that he did not think he needed a permit to put the waste on the land but Mrs McDonald told the court that he had received 2 letters in 2005 and 2007 advising him of changes in legislation.

The court heard that since the offence came to light Fiddian has stopped using the site, has obtained a discharge licence and now takes the waste to a legitimate site for disposal.

After the hearing Environment Agency officer Jack Colman said:

Because we uncovered this illegal site and the defendant now disposes of his waste legally, the environment has been protected.

Waste crime is a serious offence with tough penalties. It can damage the environment, blight local communities and undermine those who operate legally.

Published 30 July 2014