A car repair boss has been hit with a £17,000 legal bill for carrying out waste operations without an environmental permit.
Stuart Dickinson, from Rising Bridge, who runs Baxenden Auto Repairs, was found guilty after a trial at Blackburn Magistrates Court of operating an end of life vehicle site without an environmental permit.
He was fined £2,760 and ordered to pay a contribution of £15,000 costs towards the Environment Agency (EA).
The EA said officers had advised Dickinson, of Hoyle Street, that the waste operations being carried out on the site required a permit and that by carrying them out he was committing an offence.
The site was ‘tightly packed’ with car parts lying on the ground and old vehicles were stored in various states of disrepair, the Agency claims.
Officials inspected the site on several occasions but it ‘remained unchanged’ with waste still on site and vehicles deposited on unmade ground.
They also found large amounts of metal, which were vehicle parts and general scrap metal.
The EA said that Dickinson, 67, believed because he was intending to restore the vehicles that they were not waste and he therefore did not require a permit.
However, the court found that some of the vehicles were waste and that his activities required one.
The EA said the district judge was satisfied that Dickinson’s primary business was as a vehicle repairer and restorer and was not to deal in waste.
He also accepted that it may have been Dickinson’s ambition to restore the vehicles on site ‘however it appeared that reality had overtaken design’ and a waste operation had ‘developed over time’.
The EA said the judge was ‘equally satisfied’ that some harvesting of the vehicles on site for parts had taken place and that some of the scrap vehicles on site ‘appeared beyond saving’.
Speaking after the hearing, Graham Barker, EA environment officer, said: “This case should serve as a deterrent to other people who may be thinking about committing such crimes.
“We would urge anyone affected by an environmental incident in their local area to report it to our 24 hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60 so it can be investigated.”