A SCRAP dealer who repeatedly ignored requests to clear hundreds of decaying cars from grassland at Tredegar was fined £20,000 yesterday.

Paul Brooks, 50, first heard he had breached the conditions of an Environment Agency Wales (EAW) permit, which allows him to store and dismantle cars at Jesmond Dene Stadium, in 2009.

EAW officers found more than 400 end of life vehicles stacked on grass, leaking hazardous chemicals like oil and battery fluid into the ground below.

Despite six more visits between then and June of this year, few were removed or transferred on to concrete as required.

Brooks, of Queen Victoria Street, Tredegar, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the permit and failing to comply with a magistrates notice ordering him to remove the offending vehicles at Newport Magistrates Court.

Magistrates issued the notice this June following a previous conviction for similar matters in 2008 – when cars were found stacked six or seven high and Brooks was fined £8,000.

This time he repeatedly blamed inclement weather conditions for his failure to comply, prosecutor Mohammed Jakub said, despite the EAW first taking issue with him as far back as 2005.

Alan Jenkins, defending, said his client had removed 419 end of life vehicles since April – a claim denied by the prosecution – and only 75 offending vehicles remained.

He also stopped taking new vehicles in and took as many as he could for scrap elsewhere but the “snowball had taken hold,” Mr Jenkins added.

“The court has asked whether or not the defendant blatantly ignored the court but he’s been doing his best, he has been engulfed by the business he has built up over the years,” he added.

Brooks almost collapsed when magistrates fined him £10,000 for each charge and told him to pay £1,361 in costs.

Mr Jakub said afterwards the EAW had exhausted every avenue before prosecuting: “It’s a clear message that we are trying to create a level playing field for everybody else,” he said.