Businessman jailed for breaching wood waste regulations

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A Mansfield businessman has been jailed for nine months after blatantly ignoring environmental regulations at four commercial wood waste sites he ran.

No permits were in force for wood storage or wood chipping and quantities were exceeded for the waste activities which were permitted.

Christopher Theaker (49) of High Oakham Drive, Mansfield, was also ordered to pay £250,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and £80,000.00 in investigation and court costs at Sheffield Crown Court.

The court was told how Theaker, trading under the name Theaker Recycling Limited, operated four separate commercial wood waste sites across Mansfield and Sheffield.

Kevin Saunders, prosecuting, said Environment Agency officers warned Theaker four times between 2010-2011 concerning the breaches - which included complaints from local residents about dust.

His premises were shut down no less than four times following action from the agency officers over the offences.

As he passed sentence Judge Watson QC said: “The operations created a significant risk of harm in the form of dust pollution and the offences were committed despite warnings from the Environment Agency.

“Mr Theaker demonstrated a prolonged, systematic disregard for the regulations with a view to profit.”

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation, said: “We offered advice to Mr Theaker on a number of occasions to help him run his business legitimately while protecting the environment.

“Instead of working with us to do this he chose to show blatant disregard for the law and moved his illegal activities from site to site.

“By doing this, not only did he undercut business competitors who operate legally. his activities adversely impacted a number of local communities over an extended period.”