A BROTHER and sister have been jailed for nine months after an illegal tyre dump became a toxic inferno in an arson attack.
Scores of residents living near to the Tyre Trade UK Ltd base had to be evacuated when more than 120,000 worn-out tyres went up in flames.
Jane Hopkins and David Squire were jailed and banned from being company directors for seven years for numerous breaches of environmental health laws.
A court heard how they ignored numerous notices from the Environment Agency that the tyre dump was being operated illegally and posed a health risk.
Judge Rosalind Coe said the pair had shown a “blatant disregard for the law.”
She added: “I cannot ignore the seriousness of your lack of appreciation of the Environment Agency’s concerns.
“You knew the risks and you ignored the warnings. You had a head in the sand approach and just carried on.”
Hopkins, 45, of Ewood Drive, Cantley, and Squire, 31, of Cecil Avenue, Warmsworth, admitted four counts of operating the dump without an Environmental Permit between April 2008 and August 2009. They also admitted keeping tyres in a manner likely to cause pollution between February 2009 and June 2010.
Squire also admitted failing to comply with an Environmental Protection Notice in August 2009.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the pair were granted a permit to store 55 tonnes of tyres at the site in Whitelea Grove, Mexborough, in 2008. They were issued with a closure notice after inspectors discovered more than the permitted number of tyres on site.
The firm was fined £24,000 in January 2009 for operating a similar dump in Churchill Road, Doncaster, without a permit.
The pair were evicted from the Mexborough site in September 2009. In June 2010 72 homes were evacuated when the tyres went up in flames.
It cost South Yorkshire Fire Service £300,000 to tackle the blaze and Doncaster Council £10,000 in temporary accommodation.
Jeremy Lasker, for Hopkins, said she and her brother were not acting dishonestly and simply became overwhelmed by all the rules and regulations.
James Gregory, representing Squire, added that for a time they believed they had the right permits to run the facility legally.