A Manchester man who repeatedly left and burned rubbish at a North Wales beauty-spot received a 24 weeks suspended jail term yesterday.
Shane Hutchinson, aged 48, must also obey a five months overnight curfew in a caravan at Britannia industrial estate, Heywood, pay £764 compensation for the clear-up bill and £3,467 costs.
Magistrates’ chairwoman Dawn Davies told him at Llandudno court :”These offences are appalling. They were deliberate and carried out in an area of special scientific interest. There was also an element of financial gain as you were paid to dispose of this waste in a proper manner. You offended on three occasions.”
The prosecution said the “fly-tipping” occurred in the vicinity of remote Llyn Aled, near Llyn Brenig.
Hutchinson pleaded guilty to depositing controlled waste on three occasions and twice burning it in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health.
Julia Longworth, prosecuting, said on October 4, next to the former Llyn Aled sailing club, material from a pub in Manchester had been set alight. “The defendant says a lot of the items were already there when he arrived,” the lawyer said. He had received £100 to dispose of rubbish.
Then on December 5, on the beach area of the reservoir which had been drained for maintenance, there was rubbish traced to a woman’s Oldham home. Hutchinson had received £50 to remove her rubbish and waste had been set ablaze. Four days later in the same area further waste was found.
Miss Longworth said Hutchinson explained that he started the fires to keep warm while fishing.
The defendant had previous convictions for dissimilar offences.
Defence solicitor Huw Roberts said Hutchinson had been night-fishing to Llyn Brenig for about 15 years and he burned a few bags of rubbish to keep warm.
On December 9 he “forgot” to replace bags of rubbish in his van after removing them. He denied tipping rubbish over the edge of the dam.
Hutchinson had a “great love” for the area and on occasions lit small fires to keep warm. He was once a groundworker but became a man with a van who did jobs for the local community, taking away their rubbish. “The vast majority has been done quite correctly,” the solicitor insisted. “The intention would normally have been to take this to the tip. He needed something to burn to keep warm. The third occasion was an act of forgetfulness.”
The prosecution was brought following a joint investigation by Conwy Council; Dŵr Cymru and Natural Resources Wales’s Rural Crimes Team.
Cllr Dr Mark Baker, Cabinet Member for Regulation at Conwy Council, said: “Environmental crime is unacceptable and the authority will investigate such incidents thoroughly and wherever possible bring them to the courts.
”This particular case has been extensive and an excellent example of multi-agency working. We urge the public to check that the person or company who’s taking away their waste is a Registered Waste Carrier and remember to always ask for a detailed receipt. We need to collectively protect our environment.”
Head of water assets for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, David Taylor, said: :“I hope this case serves as a warning to anyone thinking that our sites are soft targets for fly-tipping. People should realise that our reservoirs are there for a reason – to collect water that will be used for drinking purposes – so to dispose of waste which risks pollution is irresponsible and something that won’t be tolerated.
“Fly-tipping also spoils the natural beauty of our sites, many of which are located in areas of outstanding beauty. We welcome around 350,000 visitors a year to our recreational and reservoir sites so the last thing they want to see there is dumped rubbish.”