Tredegar farmer found guilty of waste storage is spared jail
12:02pm Sunday 20th October 2013 in News
A FARMER who made hundreds of thousands of pounds by storing tonnes of rubbish that gave off a rotting smell was spared jail.
Paul Morris, 47, let a waste company tip more than 4,600 lorry loads of rubbish onto his Tredegar farm in a “sustained” crime on the environment, a court heard.
Residents near Carreg Bica Isaf Farm complained about the “rotting” smell akin to that experienced on municipal tips, Newport Crown Court heard.
Environmental bosses later found some of the waste had become as polluted as raw sewage, the court heard.
A dark-coloured run-off known as "leachate" escaped onto surrounding land and a reservoir site, the court was told.
Morris faced up to years in jail after making some £283,000 by allowing the waste company Thomas Waste to tip the rubbish onto the farm between 2006 and 2010, the court heard.
Judge Rhys Rowlands handed him a 10-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, and 300 hours unpaid work.
Judge Rowlands told him: “Our environment is a precious commodity to be preserved by us for future generations.
“I’m appalled by what you were doing. This was not simply a financial crime.
“What we are dealing with here is a sustained instance of environmental crime.”
Morris denied one count of knowingly permitting the deposit of controlled waste without a permit or a licence but was found guilty after a trial.
Defence barrister, Gregg Taylor QC, told the court the amount of contaminated waste was small, adding the vast majority was "acceptable" and "non hazardous".
Mr Taylor stressed that evidence as far as contamination was “far from clear” and his client had co-operated with the Environment Agency as soon as the matter “blew up”.
He added that the water on the surface of the reservoir was clear and residents only complained about the smell in 2010.
Morris has moved out of the Tredegar farm and now lives in Mount Pleasant Road, Ebbw Vale.
Judge Rowlands backed an application to recoup funds from Morris under the Proceeds of Crime Act with a hearing is scheduled to take place on March 31, 2014.