Halifax businessman jailed for illegal waste operation

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court

The owner of a Halifax skip hire company has been jailed for two years for running an illegal waste site.

David Turner, 56, of Farrar Mill Lane, Siddal was sentenced yesterday (January 28) at Bradford Crown Court after admitting waste charges brought by the Environment Agency.

His son Jonathan Turner, 26, of Farrar Mill Lane, Siddal, was also sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work for his involvement. Family friend Norman Stoker, aged 52, of Water Lane, Halifax, was given a conditional discharge.

David Turner is currently in custody for failing to pay in excess of £75,000 which was claimed against him following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing relating to previous waste offences. This new prison term will be added on to this existing sentence.

Counsel for the Environment Agency, Craig Hassall, told the court that David Turner ran a waste site at Farrar Mill in Siddall, with the help of his son Jonathan, under an environmental permit.

Turner consistently failed to comply with the constraints of the permit and during an inspection in 2011, the Environment Agency found that Turner was storing excessive waste on the site. The main waste pile was 100 metres long and up to ten metres high in some places. The waste was close to homes, Hebble Brook and a bowling green.

The Environment Agency ordered the defendant to reduce the size of the waste pile but he failed to do so. In June 2011, the Environment Agency revoked Turner’s permit, but subsequent inspections revealed that the site was still accepting mixed waste.

Waste wood was also being burned illegally on site, including treated wood which was unsuitable for burning.

Investigations through 2013 to 2015, which included covert surveillance, revealed that the illegal operation was continuing despite there being no valid permit in place. Jonathan Turner took over the operation of the site when his father was jailed in April 2013 following an unrelated offence of dangerous driving.

During the investigations, Environment Agency officers discovered that the Turners had been using a skip wagon that was registered to Norman Stoker. The court heard that Stoker had allowed the Turners to register the vehicle in his name to allow them to continue to operate.

In delivering his sentence his Honour Judge Hatton QC said: “David Turner consistently thwarted and impeded them (the Environment Agency) and ignored their efforts, largely for attempted financial gain.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We are pleased with the court’s sentence against David Turner. This defendant thought he could flout the regulations but this prison sentence sends a strong message to the community that environmental crime is taken very seriously.

“Environmental permitting laws exist to protect the environment and communities from the risk of harm. People who flout the rules will be pursued. Anyone who believes that a waste company is operating illegally should report the matter to our incident hotline on 0800 807060.”