A Lincolnshire man has been given a suspended prison sentence and his van and funds confiscated at Lincoln Crown Court, for storing and burning waste illegally at a site in Holbeach - despite repeated warnings from the Environment Agency.

Simon Mason, 51, of Bens Gate Road, Holbeach, Lincolnshire, was found to have burned a variety of waste at his property, without an environmental permit or registered waste exemption.

He was also found to be storing more than 600 fridges at the site.

Some 700m3 of waste were discovered at the site by Environment Agency officers.

Mason’s eight month sentence was suspended for two years on condition he completes 250 hours of unpaid work and complies with a three-month, 7:00p.m to 7:00a.m curfew.

His available assets of £8,317 were ordered to be confiscated after it was calculated he benefited from his illegal waste activities by £144,000.

No order was made for costs because of Mason’s limited means.

Burning waste on site

A registered waste carrier, Mason told Environment Agency officers that he had operated a waste business at the site for a number of years.

He collected waste from house clearances and was paid by an electrical store to take away waste fridges. He burned some of the waste and stored the rest at his property.

Mason burned waste at the site, including fridges, which are classed as hazardous material and require special disposal.

Officers visited the site on six occasions, beginning in April 2018, and told Mason verbally and in writing to stop bringing waste to the site and burning it.

They also told him to take the waste to an authorised waste site for recycling or disposal, and later issued him with statutory notices.

However, on returning to the site, they found more waste had been brought to the site and burned.

Rubbish observed at the site during the multiple visits included household waste, furniture, mattresses, clothing, paint cans, toilets, televisions and numerous fridges.

Some of the rubbish had been burned, prompting neighbours to complain about the smoke generated. Fridges are classed as hazardous waste and require specialist disposal.

Environment Agency senior lawyer Sarah Dunne said:

By November 2018, the Environment Agency’s patience was largely exhausted. Officers attended at the site and found 634 fridges and over 700 cubic metres of other waste."

Judge John Pini QC told Mason:

"You started running this waste disposal business. You went into it with staggering naivety.

"It’s pretty obvious to absolutely anybody that you can’t dispose of this waste by burning it, putting toxic fumes into the environment. I fail to understand why you did not grasp that."