A warrant is out for the arrest of a waste offender who participated in illegal waste activities on a Cotswolds farm where he lived in his caravan.

46-year-old David Lee, also known as David Ham, was tried in his absence at Oxford magistrates’ court last week.

Image: UK gov

The Gloucestershire man was found to have carried out various activities on the site including depositing skips full of waste; sorting, storing and burning waste; and removing waste for onward disposal – all without the relevant environmental permit.

The site is close to two designated nature conservation areas, the Environment Agency said.

It is less than a mile from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and less than half a mile from the Site of Special Scientific Interest at Wolford Wood.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We are pleased to secure this conviction for running an illegal unpermitted waste operation.

“Waste crime can have a serious environmental impact which puts communities at risk, and undermines legitimate businesses.”

Waste ‘still smoldering’ from fires

Environment Agency officers attended Lee’s site in May of 2021, to follow up reports of burning waste, and to check compliance with permit exemptions that had recently been registered.

Image: UK gov

The officers observed two piles of waste that were still smouldering from recent fires, as well as vehicles and machinery consistent with the running of a skip hire business; several empty and full skips; and piles of mixed waste, including household, construction and demolition waste, furniture, metal, wood and soil.

Lee was then told to stop all waste activity and clear his site. Further visits were made by Environment Agency officers to check on progress.

It became apparent, they said, that Lee was continuing to operate an unpermitted waste transfer site and was continuing to burn waste which, on more than one occasion, resulted in the local fire service attending.

In November 2021, the Environment Agency served a notice compelling Lee to clear the waste from the site, but he did not comply, and his activity continued.

The Environment Agency said that, with all other avenues exhausted, it decided to take Lee to court which resulted in his conviction. There is now a warrant out for his arrest with no bail.