Illegally dumped waste cost landowner almost £1m - but he will only get £7,000 back

Bales of waste left at a site on Davy Way in Llay without a permit
-Credit: (Image: Natural Resources Wales)

A landowner who had almost £1m of waste illegally dumped on his property is to get just £7,000 in compensation. Natural Resources Wales brought the prosecution after over 1,600 tonnes of waste was dumped at the site in Llay in Wrexham.

Three men were prosecuted. It emerged today at a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing into the case at Mold Crown Court that landowner Nathan Church and his firm lost almost £1 million.

But a judge heard there wasn't much money left to compensate him for the clean-up. He agreed that one of the offenders must pay £7,000 to Mr Church while the other two need only pay a nominal sum of £1 each.

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The POCA hearing was brought over defendants Gavin Taylor, 45, of Barlow Drive, Sheffield, Anthony Park, 55, of Coronation Road, Carmarthen, and Karl Jones, 37, of Oak Tree Close, Wickersley, Rotherham. Prosecutor Christopher Stables said Nathan Church was the director and owner of Distant Shores Ltd where the waste ended up.

The actions of the three defendants cost Mr Church and his company £934,589 so "not far off £1 million", said the prosecutor. Mr Stables said Taylor benefited to the tune of £351,772 but proposed that the "recoverable amount" was a nominal sum of £1. The judge agreed and gave Taylor seven days to pay or face one day in prison in default.

Mr Stables said Karl Anthony Jones, who ran Banana Logistics, benefited by £250,902 but proposed that there should be a recoverable amount of a nominal £1. The judge agreed with the same conditions.

Mr Stables said Anthony Park benefited by £304,352. He added that Park had pleaded guilty on the basis that he had become involved to "extinguish a debt" in an unrelated business.

Bales of waste left at a site on Davy Way in Llay without a permit.
Bales of waste left at a site on Davy Way in Llay without a permit. -Credit:Natural Resources Wales

But unlike his co-defendants, Park has a recoverable amount of £7,705, said Mr Stables. The judge agreed and gave him three months to pay or face four months' imprisonment if he fails to do so.

Mr Stables added that Mr Church's company has since gone out of existence but "the losses continue for Mr Church". The judge said the £7,705 must be paid in compensation to Mr Church out of the confiscated money.

A court heard in April last year how two men involved in the illegal depositing of waste in Wrexham showed a "flagrant disregard" for the law, a judge said. A wall was knocked down to squeeze cube-shaped bales of waste into a warehouse and, when investigators looked inside, they found flies and felt the heat, with firefighters later fearing the whole lot would "self-combust".

Anthony Gordon Park, then 54, had been using the building on Llay industrial estate to make money to work off debts from "sinister individuals" who were threatening him, Caernarfon Crown Court had heard. Park pleaded guilty to operating a regulated facility otherwise than in accordance with an environmental permit between May 1 and May 20, 2017.

Co-defendant Gavin Taylor, then 36, passed a false document to another man Karl Jones, 36, claiming it was an environmental permit to use the site when it referred to another, unrelated site in Newton-le-Willows on Merseyside. Taylor admitted knowingly causing controlled waste to be deposited on land otherwise than in accordance with an environment permit between the same dates. At last year's sentencing hearing, a judge gave them 14-month jail terms but suspended them for 18 months.

Karl Jones, then 36, of Oak Tree Close, Wickersley, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, also admitted knowingly causing controlled waste to be deposited on land otherwise than in accordance with an environment permit between the same dates. He was given a 12-month community order, with 68 hours of unpaid work.

In April last year prosecutor Christopher Stables told how Park had looked into using several sites. He met a commercial estate agent from Legat Owen at a hangar on Deeside in 2017, claiming to have a contract with the Jamaican Embassy to store and later manufacture wind turbines.

But, in May that year, he eventually handed over £5,000 in cash - but not any VAT - to licence a unit on Llay industrial estate.

The court heard that, soon afterwards, Natural Resources Wales received a report that bales were being deposited there. NRW staff found three trailers being unloaded by two men. A telehandler was being used, which was later found to have been taken from Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester.

The waste included wood, carpet, glass, fibre and foam. The two men in Llay told the NRW officers they were working for a Tony Park. The NRW officers looked in the unit and found flies and a strong odour from bales in the building which was three quarters full.

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