Two men have been convicted after a huge amount of fly tipped waste was found in the grounds of a Warsop church.
Sheldon Atherton, 39, of Alexandra Street, Kirkby was convicted at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court of one offence of knowingly causing the deposit of controlled waste at St Augustine’s Church in Sookholme, an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Sentencing him, the magistrates said he had committed a serious offence. They fined him £400 and ordered him to pay £200 costs and surcharge of £40.
The court was told that Atherton initially pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea. He was unable to attend the hearing for medical reasons.
The case, prosecuted by Mansfield District Council, was linked to one the council also pursued last year against dry cleaning business owner Amirudin Hirani, aged 59, of Cedar Grove, Wollaton, in Nottingham.
He pleaded guilty at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on 11 October 2018 to one offence of failing to take reasonable measures on the transfer of controlled waste, also an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
At the time of the hearing, the court was told that the business owner was culpable because he had not checked that the trade waste would be disposed of in a responsible way. He was fined £600 and ordered to pay £200 costs and surcharge of £62.
The latest case brings to a conclusion an exhaustive investigation by the council into this illegally dumped waste, which began in June 2017.
Magistrates heard that after the fly-tipped waste had been examined, council officers visited Amirudin Hirani and he admitted the rubbish had come from his dry cleaning shop in Kirkby which was being refurbished.
He said he had arranged for the waste and scrap metal to be collected by Sheldon Atherton but that he failed to check if Atherton had a licence to carry waste.
The court heard that Atherton told council officers he collected the waste in his van but denied fly tipping. Atherton, however, accepted he was in control of the vehicle from which the waste was fly tipped.
The council was first alerted to the fly tip by the church. After the cases, Keith Clayton, one of the churchwardens, said: “This case shows how powerful social media can be - the response from the community from a Facebook post was fantastic.
“Within half an hour members of the community had turned out to help clear the church grounds of rubbish and have it ready for visitors.
“We are all very grateful to the Community Safety team at Mansfield District Council for their persistence and commitment to reach a successful prosecution.”
David Evans, Head of Health and Communities at Mansfield District Council, said: “Any act of illegally dumping waste is awful but there was something particularly appalling and brazened about this fly tip in the grounds of a church.
“The council has a duty to look into incidents of environmental crime and this was a long and complicated investigation. We will always try to prosecute for fly tipping where possible as part of our drive to make Mansfield and cleaner and greener place.
“We are pleased that this case has been brought to a conclusion and that perpetrators of this crime have been brought to justice.”