A NEWPORT man made £1 million dumping waste on an "unprecedented scale" at the Gwent Levels, but must pay back just £1, a court heard today.

Anthony Holwell, 51, dumped the rubbish on land near his home of Berryhill Cottage, Coedkernew, causing extensive damage to the protected area.

Prosecutor Timothy Evans and defence barrister Harry Baker agreed that Holwell made £1 million from the illegal operation, in which mainly demolition waste was dumped.

But, during a proceeds of crime act application at Newport Crown Court, Mr Evans asked the Holwell pay a nominal amount back of £1 because he is bankrupt.

He said: "The benefit was £1 million, but we have asked for a nominal order of £1. This is because we have looked at the prospect of anything being left after he has paid his creditors. We don’t think there will be. But, if there are assets in the future, we can revisit it."

Holwell owes his creditors around £130,000 and his only asset is Berryhill Cottage and land surrounding it. But, because it is badly contaminated from the waste dumping, the potential sale value is low.

This means the Environment Agency won’t get any money back towards investigation and clean-up costs.

Holwell was jailed for 12 months after being convicted of five waste-related offences in October 2010, but is currently serving a seven-year sentence for a separate blackmail conviction.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said Holwell's offending, along with that of co-defendant Stephen Richards, was one of the worst suffered by one of Gwent’s protected areas, saying damage caused was on an "unprecedented scale".

Richards, 54, of Richmond Road, Cardiff, was jailed for 15 months after admitting 11 similar waste-related offences.

A hearing last month found he profited to the tune of £2 million after 26,000 tonnes of waste was dumped illegally at Hawse Lane, Marshfield, Ty Mawr Lane, Castleton and Berry Hill Cottage, Coedkernew.

However, the only money he will be able to pay back is £329,600 from the sale of land and his van after Judge Rhys Rowlands said he "frittered away" all his profits.

Of this, £37,000 will go to the Countryside Council for Wales to help restore the damaged land.