Illegal dump ‘threat’ to wildlife

The Ea Beck(Picture: Liz Robinson D2053LR)
The Ea Beck(Picture: Liz Robinson D2053LR)

A Doncaster landowner has been placed on a curfew after a four-year pollution case in which wildlife on a waterway was endangered by an illegal landfill site.

John Laurence Soar, aged 63, was also sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work by Sheffield Crown Court after he was found guilty of 
running the site in the village of Hampole, not far from Ea Beck.

Soar must remain at his home, Stubbs Hall on Wakefield Road, Hampole, between the hours of 10.30pm and 5.30am for the next three months.

He was convicted of one charge of operating a waste facility without an environmental permit, and four charges relating to burning of waste at the site, following earlier guilty pleas at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court.

The charges date back to the summer of 2009 when a secret surveillance operation by the Environment Agency uncovered evidence of tons of rubble being dumped and timber being burned illegally on land at Stubbs Hall Farm.

Even though the site had no environmental permit or planning permission for such operations, rubbish was being deposited in the land and then levelled out.

There were also various piles of demolition waste, bricks and concrete, as well as piles of burnt material.

Officers also witnessed smoke coming from the site and could smell burning plastic and rubber on at least three dates.

Fires were seen burning on the site in September 2009.

A few days later the officers searched the site with a warrant and uncovered landfill to a depth of between one and four metres.

They found other piles of waste and a large depression in the ground where the burned remains, of bedsprings, tree cuttings and cans could be seen.

When they brought in an excavator they found a fridge, a car door, plastics, a cooker, carpet and suspected abestos.

Paul Salter, investigations manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste operations such as landfill sites can have a significant impact on the local environment, that’s why legislation exists to ensure that sites are properly regulated and operated.

“The activities at Stubbs Hall placed important wildlife at risk, as any pollution running off the land could have drained into Ea Beck, where work is being done to improve the habitat, especially for water voles.

“The Environment Agency is keen to help businesses as much as possible to meet their legal obligations, but those who continue to flout the rules will be brought to justice.”

Four men, including an employee of Soar, and a Doncaster business have previously been sentenced for dumping the waste.