Fly-tipping skip firm owner fined

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:12 11 May 2010

A SKIP firm owner who dumped building waste on farmland has been fined. Robbie Frank Johnston, of Windmill Close, Barkway pleaded guilty to fly-tipping construction and domestic waste, and transporting waste without a licence, when he appeared before magi

A SKIP firm owner who dumped building waste on farmland has been fined.

Robbie Frank Johnston, of Windmill Close, Barkway pleaded guilty to fly-tipping construction and domestic waste, and transporting waste without a licence, when he appeared before magistrates in Stevenage on Monday.

He was fined a total of £1,500 and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Johnston, owner of Rob's Skips, had initially denied both charges, which relate to an incident which occurred in June this year.

His services had been employed by a householder in Garden Walk, Royston, and Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecuting, said that seven skips were delivered and collected over a month-long period.

Johnston had told the homeowner that he was a registered carrier, and that the waste would be lawfully disposed of.

However, on June 12 rubbish collected earlier that day was found dumped on farmland at Ashmill poultry farm, Barkway.

When interviewed by police officers two days after the fly-tipping had been reported, Johnston claimed that he had not collected the waste from the house but had asked a friend to do it, and said it must have been the friend who dumped the waste.

However Mrs McDonald said the householder, his partner, and an electrician all reported seeing Johnston, who has since stopped operating his firm, take the skip away.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency, which brought the prosecution, said: "Johnston told Environment Agency investigating officers that he only cleared waste for friends, was not registered as a waste carrier because he does not do it for profit, and took waste to his grandparents' yard, which he did not think he needed to have registered because he did not dispose of waste there.

"He later claimed that he had not told the householder that he was registered but sometimes told people that he was because it made him look more professional.

"He admitted sorting waste at his grandparents' yard and said he took the sorted waste to legitimate sites."

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer David Griffiths said: "Fly-tipping is a blight on the countryside and someone else has to pick up the cost.

"By not being registered Johnston was operating illegally and saving himself money. He did not pay to register and he did not pay to dispose of the fly-tipped waste legally.

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