Man burned 'carpet of waste' at illegal site

A pile of burned waste at the site
The Environment Agency found evidence of "multiple fires" at the site [Environment Agency]

A man who burned piles of rubbish at an illegal site "showing a complete disregard for the law" has been fined £800.

Lawrence Crossling, of Salters Lane, Shotton Colliery, was first caught in May 2022, before more waste and another fire were spotted the following January.

The 41-year-old was asked to clear off the site but failed to do so and was charged with operating an illegal waste site and burning waste.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Durham Crown Court on Wednesday.

Gary Wallace, area environment manager for the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “Our officers witnessed Crossling’s land carpeted with waste with evidence of multiple fires, showing a complete disregard for the law.

“Waste crime has a terrible impact on the community and environment as well as undermining legitimate businesses."

A small fire burning at the site
On one visit most of the waste was reduced to ash, the Environment Agency said [Environment Agency ]

The court was told in May 2022 officers from Durham County Council saw a fire burning at a compound in Salters Lane.

It included plastics, furniture, wood, metal and a boxing bag, and there was evidence of previous fires.

In January 2023, officers from the council, the Environment Agency and the fire service attended the site.

They found the ground covered in waste, most of which had been reduced to ash, the Environment Agency said.

There was a fire burning and piles of rubbish including demolition and construction waste, as well as a fridge freezer, washing machines, a shopping trolley and bathtub.

'No paperwork'

In May 2023, Environment Agency officers issued letters that included instructions to clear the site of all waste by 9 June.

When officers met Crossling at the compound on 14 June, the site was still covered in waste.

He was interviewed and admitted having hardcore material delivered to tackle flooding issues.

Crossling said he and his sons collected scrap and this was deposited and burned on the land.

He also said he allowed others to deposit scrap at the compound, but had no paperwork for any of the transactions.

Crossling was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £80.

He was given a year to pay the £800 fine or risk a seven days in prison.

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