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UK: Leicestershire man pays penalty for operating Illegal Business from home without an Environmental Permit or Exemption

"This was a blatant disregard for the law and we do not hesitate to prosecute in circumstances like these"

Yesterday, 17 Oct 2012 Leslie George Collins, of Rockland Rise, Whitwick, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty at Loughborough Magistrates' Court to one charge of operating a waste facility without an environmental permit.

The 68-year-old was fined £750, ordered to pay £6000 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge. He was also ordered to pay £50 for a breach of conditional discharge.

The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under Regulation 12 (1) and 38 (1) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.

Since early 2010, Leslie Collins ran a wood working business from his home address in Whitwick. He received large quantities of waste wood, such as wooden storage pallets or other wood cut offs. This would often be left on his driveway. The waste wood would then be broken up and sold as fuel, or sometimes wooden goods, such as chicken hutches or bird boxes.

His business caused significant noise, mess and disruption for his neighbours, and on 26 January 2011 he was made subject to additional terms of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. This ordered him not to break up wood waste anywhere on his property, and to not use his front driveway to store waste wood for more than two hours.

On 1 April 2011, a formal warning letter was personally served on Mr Collins by the Environment Agency. This stated that running his business from his home address was illegal as he did not have the appropriate permit or exemption in place to do so. Despite receiving this warning Mr Collins continued to operate the business at his home address.

The initial investigation into Mr Collins' activities was conducted in partnership with Leicestershire Constabulary and North West Leicestershire District Council.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said:
"At no point did Mr Collins make any attempt to obtain the correct permit or exemption, and nor did he cease activity at his home address despite receiving a formal warning from the Environment Agency. This was a blatant disregard for the law and we do not hesitate to prosecute in circumstances like these."