A fly-tipper who was convicted for dumping waste at a former garage block in a built up area was told by magistrates: “You should have known better.”
Leonard Read, who works as a landscaper and waste collector, used the open plot to store scrap metal, old televisions, broken fridges, sofas, windows and even car tyres.
Medway Council’s Environmental Enforcement team became involved following a complaint in April 2010 about the land at Sundridge Drive, in Chatham.
Read, aged 43, of nearby Wayfield Road, was invited to attend an interview under caution and told officers he had used this area for two and a half years.
He also claimed he had permission from the owners of the garage plots to use the land – which was open and not fenced off.
But the council spoke to the owners and discovered that 43-year-old Read – who did not own any land at the plot himself - was never granted permission.
He also did not have a waste transfer site licence, despite working as a waste collector.
Read pleaded guilty to an offence of operating a waste transfer station without a licence at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 22 May.
The court heard he already had a previous conviction for fly-tipping and that some of the items dumped – such as fridges - had corrosive chemicals inside them.
Read was given a 90-day prison sentence, suspended for a year, and a £600 fine. He was also ordered to carry out 60 hours community service.
Sentencing him, Colin Smith, the chairman of the magistrates’ bench, said: “You should have known better. The material you had stored required special treatment."
He also warned Read that if he breached the terms of his sentence, he ‘would find himself back before the magistrates' court, sitting in a closed dock where he could be taken down and sent to Elmley Prison’.
Following the hearing, Cllr Mike O’Brien, the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact, said: “Fly-tipping is an inexcusable offence that blights an area and causes misery for residents.
“I am pleased that the court has not only handed out a sentence that gives a strong message that this will not be tolerated, but also that the magistrate has made it clear that this man could face imprisonment if he breaches this.
“Anyone who has a problem with illegal dumping of waste and fly-tipping in their area should call the council on 333333. We are determined to act against people doing this and will always prosecute any fly-tipper we catch.”