IT is now up to the Environment Agency to tackle any build-up of rubbish at the disputed premises of Thompson Waste Services, says the site’s owner.
Businesswoman Anne Ganley has vowed to remain in the industrial unit in the Parade, Hendon, Sunderland, where she has been since Friday.
The 57-year-old is refusing to move despite ACT Construction, an agent for the building’s owner Alan Thompson, taking possession of the property on Thursday.
However, ACT says it had no choice other than to act after concerns over the firm’s running of the site.
Mrs Ganley said she would not leave the building until the threat of eviction was lifted.
“We are speaking to solicitors to try to get an injunction through the court to prevent this from happening, “ she said.
“At the moment, we don’t have any court papers to defend ourselves and if they take control of the building again, possession is nine-tenths of the law.”
ACT says Mrs Ganley did not sign a tenancy agreement when she moved in because she had promised to buy the building.
A spokesman said the firm had no choice but to act.
“ACT, following legal advice, took peaceful possession of the waste yard on Thursday, in order that we could discharge our duty of care in terms of protecting the environment from the yard’s occupants,” he said.
“We have now discharged our duty of care by taking all reasonable steps available to us.
“Consequently, it is now down to the Environment Agency and, of course Mrs Ganley, to prevent any further build-up of waste whilst ACT bring her occupancy to an end through the courts.”
He dismissed claims Mrs Ganley had been welded into the offices: “Anne Ganley was neither locked or welded inside the premises at any time. She was free to leave at any time.
“Had it been true, the police, who were on scene, would have intervened both to free her and prosecute those responsible for depriving her of her liberty.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police confirmed that officers attended the scene on Friday purely to ensure a breach of the peace did not occur, as officers would not get involved in a civil dispute.