Agency were tyre-d of hazard.
Byline: Keiran Southern Reporter email@example.com
A COMPANY and one of its officers who illegally stored up to 30,000 tyres in Gateshead, causing a fire hazard near to the East Coast Mainline, have been fined.
James William Robb and company Rethink Waste Ltd appeared at Peterlee Magistrates' Court charged with storing the objects without permission.
It followed an investigation by the Environment Agency after large numbers of tyres were stored next to the busy rail route.
Robb, 57, of Burnhope, County Durham, and Rethink Waste Ltd, registered at the same address, pleaded guilty to operating a waste facility for the storage of waste tyres without a permit at Station Lane in Birtley.
Both were fined PS2,000 and ordered to pay costs of PS3,750, along with a PS120 victim surcharge.
The Environment Agency's Dave Edwardson, enforcement team leader in the North East, said: "At the end of our investigation there were up to 30,000 tyres dumped at this site, just next to the rail line.
"As a result of our investigation we've seen the removal of all of the tyres from the site, taking away a serious hazard, and have pursued the case through the courts.
"Illegal waste sites such as this pose a serious risk to the environment and the community, as well as undermining legitimate businesses, and we'll continue to take action against those involved."
In February 2014, Rethink Waste leased land at the Back Compound at Turners Equipment Yard in Station Lane. There were around 300 tyres already on the site.
Acting on behalf of the Environment Agency, solicitor Simon Crowder told the court that shortly afterwards Environment Agency officers became aware of a 'rapid influx' of tyres to the site, which had no permit.
James William Robb explained Rethink Waste Ltd collected tyres from across the North East with the intention of exporting them and that they had registered an exemption - which means they do not require a permit - to allow for the temporary storage and treatment for end of life tyres.
But over several months large numbers of tyres were brought to the site and left, far exceeding the limit allowed by the exemption.
This led to Environment Agency officers issuing a number of enforcement notices requiring the tyres to be removed, the last notice requiring the removal of the tyres from site by December 22, 2014.
When spoken to by officers, Robb said Rethink Waste was only on the site between February 28 and July 28, that their tenancy agreement had been terminated in July 2014, but that other people had been dumping tyres on the site after that date.
He also said they never had end of life tyres on site, and had instead bought serviceable tyres and resold them.
On January 5, 2015, Environment Agency officers visited the site and noted no noticeable difference to the volume of tyres on site, despite the landlord saying someone had been instructed to remove them.
The site has now been cleared of all tyres.
Anyone who has information about waste crimes can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
| James William Robb and company Rethink Waste Ltd have been fined for illegally storing up to 30,000 tyres in Gateshead. Inset, the site after the tyres were removed