A 66-year-old man has been fined for operating a waste processing business for eight years without being licensed to do so.
Peter Wickins also continually ignored requests to either clear his unit at Dysons Quarry or properly license his business and was sentenced for one count of failing to surrender.
The saga began in April 2019 when a complaint was made to the Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation that Wickins was illegally processing waste.
An investigation began and EHPR officers visited a storage unit from which Wickins was operating his business. They found that waste was indeed being stored and processed on site, and a commercial waste licence hadn’t been issued.
On 28 October 2019, Wickins was handed a compliance order which was ignored and then followed up on 24 November by a visit from an EHPR officer. Wickins’ obligations were explained to him in person and he conceded that he did not have proper consent for his operation.
He was granted two extensions to rectify the situation which took him up to the end of January 2020.
Pictured: Wickins was sentenced in the Magistrates Court.
When the authorities heard nothing from Wickins, and the deadline had passed, officers visited the site again and not only found that it was still in operation, but the amount of waste on site had increased.
Officers visited the site again on 10 March to prepare for a referral to Bailiwick Law Enforcement and once again it looked like more waste had accumulated on site, including piles of batteries and tires, aerosol cans, and some bags of food waste.
He was arrested in July and released on bail. He was further charged for failing to surrender to custody on 6 September this year.
Wickins pleaded guilty to all charges and his defence advocate said the situation had arisen out of a chaotic period in Wickins’ life.
It was argued that in 2011, when Wickins set up the business, he was unaware that he needed a licence and only realised when the authorities came to him in 2019.
After that initial meeting, Wickins was beset by not only covid, but illness, bereavement, financial troubles, and the loss of all of his staff: “It’s just been a mess,” said his advocate.
Judge Graeme McKerrell said Wickins had actively ignored his responsibilities.
“It is perfectly clear to me that there has been a certain amount of burying your head in the sand and hoping this would go away,” said Judge McKerrell.
“You were operating a commercial business that you shouldn’t have been, even if wasn’t a very successful one.”
Wickins was handed a £7,000 fine for storing waste without a licence and a £500 for failing to surrender.
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