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Illegal waste operator sentenced to prison again for continuing to commit waste offences

An illegal waste operator has been sentenced at Banbury Magistrates’ Court (2, July 2013) to a total of eight months imprisonment and ordered to pay costs of £9,449 for waste offences. David Ham, 36 of the Old Dairy, Dudgrove Lane, Whelford, Gloucestershire commited the offences at two sites at Whelford in Gloucestershire and Faringdon in Oxfordshire. Mr Ham was also guilty of failing to attend court without a reasonable excuse on April 29 2013.

Mr Ham had previously pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court to running an illegal waste operation from a site at the Old Dairy in Whelford and keeping waste at the Faringdon Business Park, Chowle Farm, Faringdon. He had also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with two court orders to remove the waste previously deposited by him at both sites, which had been made following earlier convictions for waste offences.

In sentencing Mr Ham the court said, that he had deliberately failed to comply with the previous court orders and had continued to engage in his illegal activities for profit. It noted that he had acquired vehicles to run his businesses, and that his activities had the potential to harm the environment.

The court sentenced him to four months imprisonment for each of the two offences of operating an illegal waste operation at the Old Diary and keeping waste at Faringdon Business Park, to run consecutively. For the failure to comply with the remediation orders he was sentenced to one month imprisonment for each, to run concurrently and 14 days imprisonment for failing to attend court.  A total of 8 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, on the following conditions:

i) He must not commit any further offences in that period or the term of imprisonment may be activated.
ii) He will be subject to a two years supervision order by the probation service including the following terms :
a) He must attend 10 sessions for education and training to enhance his reading skills and
b) He must undertake 200 hours of unpaid community work.

Mr Ham was previously sentenced to 25 weeks in prison at Oxford Magistrates’ Court in December 2011 for burning waste and running his illegal waste businesses without an environmental permit from the Old Dairy in Whelford and Faringdon Business Park in Faringdon. The Environment Agency’s further investigations revealed that he was continuing his illegal activities at both sites. The waste activities at Whelford site encroached into the Cotswold Park Lake SSSI at Whelford Lakes.

The court heard that Environment Agency officers visited the two sites on several occasions in 2012 and 2013 and re – served Mr Ham with the details of the waste removal orders served on him by the court. They advised him more than once that he had not complied with the court orders and that he was found once again to be running an illegal waste transfer station at the Whelford site.

Environment Officer Jack Knight said: “This second custodial sentence, the supervision order and the community service order send out a clear message to criminals that the Environment Agency and the justice system take waste crime seriously and that offenders can expect strong sentencing to follow their conviction.”

At Tuesday’s hearing in Oxford, Mr Ham was also ordered to pay £9,449 costs incurred by the Environment Agency in bringing the prosecution. The court expected £8,500 to be paid within 14 days, from the proceeds of one of his business vehicles that he has recently sold.

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