Eight members of an extended family have pleaded guilty at Truro Crown Court to running a complex series of illegal waste businesses from a former smallholding near St Austell, Cornwall.
The case was brought by the Environment Agency and Devon and Cornwall Police.
Several thousand tonnes of waste were dumped on land at Rocks Farm, Bugle between 2003 – 2011 after it was turned into an illegal waste transfer station and landfill. Waste was burnt, sorted and recycled and a caravan letting business was run from the site.
Aerial photos taken in 1999 and 2009 revealed an increase in the amount of waste at the site. The illegal waste transfer station handled thousands of tonnes of waste a year. Skips were used to import waste including soil, wood and metal for recycling or disposal by landfill on land at Rocks Farm.
Using archived data of Rocks Farm collected in April 2007 and comparing it with the results of a survey carried out in July 2011, the Environment Agency estimated that more than 4,500 cubic metres of material had been landfilled at the site.
The waste activities at Rocks Farm continued to grow despite there being no planning permission from Cornwall County Council or necessary permits from the Environment Agency.
Three of the defendants, Jason and Shane Buckland and Paul Crocker had waste carrier licences, but this only allowed them to transport waste to a licensed site. It did not permit them to sort, treat and dispose of waste.
On June 30, 2011 police and Environment Agency officers executed a search warrant at Rocks Farm and made a number of arrests.
A court heard there was also a caravan site at Rocks Farm which consisted of some 51 caravans. The site is not on the mains sewer and has its own septic tank system. When checked by Environment Agency officers, the system was found to be inadequate. Additionally, it needed a permit but didn't have one.
Andy Gardiner from the Environment Agency, said:
"After a lengthy and complicated investigation jointly undertaken by the Environment Agency and Devon and Cornwall police, eight people have pleaded guilty to environmental offences and the sentencing has been adjourned for eight months,"Appearing before Truro Crown Court the following defendants have pleaded guilty to depositing waste without a permit – Leeroy Buckland, Shane Buckland, James Crocker, Karl Buckland. Shirley Buckland pleaded guilty to knowingly permitting the deposit of waste without a permit. Roseanne Buckland, Jason Buckland and Paul Crocker pleaed guilty to the keeping/treating/recycing and/or disposal of waste without a permit. These are all offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990
Shirley Buckland pleaded guilty to the discharge of sewage effluent from caravans without a permit, which is an offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010