Andrew Mayhew pleaded guilty to 5 offences at Plymouth Crown Court of running a waste operation without the necessary permits, which involved dumping large numbers of tyres at several different sites including Hill Barton Business Park, Exeter; Moor Barton Farm in Tiverton, as well as Dawlish, North Tawton, and Hayedown industrial estate, Tavistock.
At the hearing, Judge Darlow described it as a ‘serious offence’ involving a very large number of tyres. He said the law is there for a reason and the Environment Agency had a duty to investigate.
Mayhew was also ordered to pay £700 towards the costs of the prosecution.
The court heard how Mayhew rented commercial premises from January 2013 to February 2014 and collected or received end of use tyres and then disposed of them by sending them to an illegal place for disposal, abandoning the tyres at the premises either loose or as tyre bales or enter into contracts with haulers to transport them and then fail to pay. This led to the haulers having to dispose of them with the resultant disposal costs.
He also left the owners of 4 commercial sites with unpaid rent amounting to £15,220 and costs to remove the tyres of over £14,540. He has also saved legitimate disposal costs of £9,360 by sending 300 tonnes of end of life tyre bales to Moor Barton Farm.
Mayhew received considerable advice from the Environment Agency including guidance and general warnings regarding his activities relating to the depositing of the tyres but he deliberately ignored all advice.
A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said:
The illegal handling of waste tyres is a serious issue that affects the environment and undermines the legitimate tyre recycling industry. We take environmental crime very seriously and won’t hesitate to prosecute offenders. Mayhew conned people into believing he was a legitimate businessman. He got paid to collect waste tyres, then abandoned them at the 4 premises he leased, failing to pay rent and bills in the meantime and left the site owners to pay to clear up his mess. He made some of the waste tyres into tyre bales and sent them to a farm to be buried under a track. These tyre bales were waste. The use of tyre bales is regulated by the Environment Agency and using bales otherwise can be an offence.
Legitimate tyre recycling businesses operate on tight margins. Mayhew deliberately profiteered by not running his business properly. If you flout environmental law, then we will not hesitate to take action. The cost to the Environment Agency of investigating and concluding this case has been incurred in a bid to protect the environment and ensure a level playing field for the tyre recycling industry.
The judge criticised Mayhew’s unacceptable attitude towards Environment Agency staff saying he had been ‘abusive and threatening’.
Mayhew admitted to 5 counts of operating a regulated facility without an environmental permit contrary to Regulations 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, and received a 15 month custodial sentence suspended for 2 years and a 2 year supervision order.