A COURT hearing into the assets of a man who illegally dumped over 26,000 tonnes of waste on land in Newport yesterday heard from a friend who lent him more than £440,000.
Stephen Richards, 54, of Richmond Road, Cardiff, was jailed for a total of 15 months in May 2011 after he admitted a total of 10 charges relating to him running an illegal waste site and depositing over 26,000 tonnes of waste on land in Marshfield, Coedkernew and Castleton.
Prosecutor Timothy Evans and defence barrister Stephen Thomas agreed that his benefit from this illegal business was around £2 million.
A proceeds of crime hearing in Newport Crown Court heard yesterday how an 80-year-old man had "anxiety" and "sleepless nights" after not receiving a penny back of the £440,900 he lent Richards over eight years ago.
Gwyn Husband, a retired agricultural merchant loaned the money to Richards, whom he has known for 30 years, to buy land on the outskirts of Gwent for possible housing development.
But, despite handing over sums of £200,000, £200,000 and £36,900 between 2001 and 2004, plus an extra £4,000 in cash, Mr Husband told the court he has received nothing back.
He said: "My heart ruled my pocket and brain", adding: "When I met Stephen, he was just a small farmer. Sadly, I have no children and looked at him as a friend and wanted to help him along.
"I grew up in a caring family and have been told to help people. But, I’ve had lots of anxiety and sleepless nights over this."
The court heard land and properties in the Marshfield and Castleton areas came to £327,850, which have been seized, while cheques cashed by Richards’ demolition and waste management company amount to £1.7 million.
Mr Evans claims these are "hidden assets" that can be retrieved, but Richards said they were lost in the demise of his business.
He described how it was turning over £7 million in 1998, but after "13 years of hell" and "one nightmare after another" with companies not paying him, a large firm "taking me to the cleaners for £800,000" and action by the Environment Agency, there is nothing left.
He said: "I don’t work, I borrow and survive just about. I’ve had the rug pulled from under me, I’ve got no money and I’m bitter." Proceeding.