Houghton man faces fine after carrying scrap metal illegally

The men appeared at Peterlee Magistrates' Court.
The men appeared at Peterlee Magistrates' Court.

A scrap metal collector has been hit with a bill after failing to have the right documents to trade.

Durham County Council wardens asked Connor Smith, from Houghton, if he had a waste carrier’s licence after he was seen driving a vehicle carrying scrap metal in the Stanley area.

Peterlee Magistrates' Court heard Smith confirmed he had a waste carrier licence but did not have a scrap metal licence as he had not been collecting scrap in County Durham.

He also had no receipts or tipping notes, the court heard.

A notice and producer was sent to him by post but checks confirmed Smith had not responded and he was issued with a £300 fixed penalty notice, which has not been paid.

Smith, 25, of Longacre, pleaded guilty to failing to produce waste transfer notes and was fined £180 and ordered to pay £130 costs and a £20 victim

surcharge.

In his defence, magistrates heard he did not receive the documents as he was not living at the address they were sent to and he would have paid the fixed penalty notice if he had.

Smith was one of three men to before the court in relation to illegal scrap metal collection.

Ian Hoult, the council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “These cases show how important it is to have the right documents if you are carrying waste – if

you don’t you could end up in court with a fine.

“As part of Operation Stop, our multi-agency campaign against waste crime, we carry out regular stop and checks of vehicles transporting waste so be warned: if you haven’t got a

licence we will take action.”

The other men in court were John McDonagh and Jonathan Hepple.

The bench was told how a neighbourhood warden approached McDonagh, who was driving a Ford Transit van carrying scrap metal and garden waste in the Consett area last June.

The warden asked to see McDonagh’s Environment Agency certificate but was told to ‘jog on’ before he drove off, the court was told.

He was later stopped by police and placed in handcuffs after refusing to give his details again.

A legal notice was then sent to him requiring proof of legal waste transfer and disposal but it was not complied with and two fixed penalty notices of £300 were issued, which remain

unpaid.

McDonagh, 35, of Sherburn Terrace, Consett, admitted failing to produce waste transfer notes and was fined £40 and ordered to pay £130 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

In mitigation, he apologised for his behaviour and attitude and said he did not receive the fixed penalty notice due to problems with receiving post.

Magistrates were also told a warden had asked Hepple, who was driving a vehicle carrying scrap metal in Consett town centre in July 2015, for waste

receipts and his waste carrier’s licence.

He did not have them so was handed a notice and producer giving him seven days to produce the documents to the council.

Hepple did later produce the waste receipts but not the waste carrier’s licence and confirmed he did not have one.

Checks with the Environment Agency also revealed that he was not registered to carry controlled waste.

Hepple was issued with a £300 fixed penalty notice which remains unpaid.

Hepple, 29, of Dipton, Consett, failed to attend court and was found guilty in his absence of transporting controlled waste when not a registered carrier.

He was fined £330 and ordered to pay £130 costs and a £33 victim surcharge.

Household waste can be taken household waste recycling centres which can be found via www.durham.gov.uk/HWRC and anyone who would like to arrange a bulky waste collection can call 03000 261 000.

Environmental crimes, including flytipping, dog fouling and litter, can be reported at www.durham.gov.uk or by calling 03000 261 000.

Unlicensed waste carriers can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.