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The Environment Agency has prosecuted the owner of a waste business near Chichester for operating without a permit despite being warned about his criminal activities on numerous occasions. The prosecution was brought as part of Operation Mosaic, a multi-agency initiative that includes the Environment Agency, the police, local authorities and environmental organisations, which is cracking down on waste crime in the Chichester district and across the Solent.
Mr Garry Ayling, who operates G R Ayling Skip Hire Ltd, also known as Sullivan’s Yard, based at Crooked Mead Farm in Stockbridge, West Sussex appeared before Worthing Magistrates Court on Wednesday 14 August 2013. Mr Ayling pleaded guilty to two offences and was fined a total of £10,000, ordered to pay costs of £4,643 in addition to £15 victim surcharge.
The court heard that Mr Ayling operated a skip hire business which did not have any permits in place to deal with the storage, treatment or final disposal of waste. Despite this when hired skips were returned to the business the wastes within them were tipped onto the site and sorted into recyclables such as cardboard, plastics, construction waste and metals. Once sorted, the wastes were then taken to other sites in the area.
The Environment Agency warned Mr Ayling that he was operating illegally from Sullivan’s Yard in June 2010, but operations still continued. On 13 February 2012, as part of Operation Mosaic, officers from the Environment Agency, police and Chichester District Council entered the premises and found the site was operating illegally with piles of wastes onsite and skips were being unloaded during the inspection.
Further visits by the Environment Agency in April and November 2012 found that Mr Ayling continued to operate illegally despite numerous warnings to cease the activities on site immediately. Officers saw huge piles of soil stored onsite with hardcore stacked to over 6 metres in height as well as other wastes clearly being sorted.
Ian Walton of the Environment Agency said: “It is very disappointing that Mr Ayling continued to ignore our repeated warnings that he was running an illegal site. It was clear that he had an understanding of his responsibilities because he was registered with us as a waste carrier, so he had little excuse in claiming he was unaware his waste obligations.
“Operation Mosaic in an ongoing initiative and the net is closing in on people who think they can make easy money undercutting legitimate waste businesses by putting the local environment at risk. We are constantly gathering information on illegal waste sites, criminal activities and environmental crime in the Chichester district and across the Solent.
“Together with our partners we are taking a zero tolerance approach against offenders. In cases like this where individuals consistently operate illegally, we have absolutely no hesitation in prosecuting them as we want to make sure that waste crime doesn’t pay.”
Mr Ayling apologised for the incident and said the site has since been cleared. He said the majority of the waste onsite was inert and posed no risk to the environment.
Magistrates presiding over the case said Mr Ayling carried out the activity deliberately and it was motivated by financial gain.
This case follows the prosecution at Chichester Magistrates’ Court of South Coast Skips Ltd who were fined £5,000 on 2 August for the illegal deposit of controlled waste on Rudford Industrial Estate at Brittens Lane in Ford, West Sussex. This prosecution was also brought as part of Operation Mosaic.