Companies and individuals illegally trading in hazardous waste received fines totalling £10,000 and escaped prison with a suspended custodial sentence.
Illegal activities were discovered when the Environment Agency responded to complaints of dead fish in a pond fed by the River Ryburn, Triangle, Halifax, in 2009.
Pollutants were traced back to nearby Thorpe Garage where an unlicensed waste business Crystal Recycling Ltd was ran by Asif ALi and Mohammed Akram.
More than 100 1,000-litre plastic containers and grab bags labelled “toxic”, “harmful to the aquatic environment” and “soluble led compound” were stored. Spilling white powder and granular contents - 25 times more polluting than raw sewage - was found, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Crystal were assisted in illegal loading and unloading of waste by landowner, haulage firm Claude Hellowell Ltd.
Waste at the Triangle site was traced back to Leeds-based company PackCare Ltd which reconditions containers.
PackCare West was transported to plastic processing firm ABC Granulation Ltd in Kirkby, Merseyside, overseen by company manager Eamon Murphy.
The commercial arrangements between PackCare and sites receiving waste from the firm were brokered by Poojan Patel, known in the market as ‘Eric’, who ran the now-dissolved Vish Impex Ltd in Oldham.
Claude Hellowell Ltd, of Thorpe Garage, Triangle, Halifax, admitted two charges. The firm was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.
Paul Eric Hellowell, 60, a director of Claude Hellowell, admitted two charges. He was fined £2,000 with £2,000 costs.
Asif Ali, 38, of Edenfield Road, Rochdale, admitted five charges. He was handed a 15-month jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work. Ali was also disqualified from working as a company director for five years.
PackCare Ltd, of Selby Road, Leeds, admitted one charge. The company was fined £1,000 with £27,500 costs.
Poojan Patel, 34, of Wicklow Grove, Oldham, admitted three charges. He was handed a 12-month community order and must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Eamon Murphy, 58, of Elworthy Avenue, Halewood, Merseyside, admitted two charges. He was handed a two-year conditional discharge.
Gail Gray, Environment Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “We are really pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing. The sentences clearly show that waste crime will not be tolerated.
“The waste that was found at the Triangle site had the potential to devastate the full spectrum of the River Ryburn’s ecosystem, from micro-organisms to fish and to have a long lasting impact, and it was seen to have affected some fish in a nearby watercourse.”