He made £2.5m dumping tyres illegally - but court orders just £122 to be repaid (over six months too)

The King's Lynn site where Steele illegally dumped tyres.

The King's Lynn site where Steele illegally dumped tyres.

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A BUSINESSMAN who made £2.5million by illegally dumping tyres across the UK has been ordered to pay back just £122 – and he has six months to do it.

Prosecutors launched a proceeds of crime investigation after Carl Steele (33) was jailed for dumping more than a million tyres in five different counties and causing estimated damage of £500,000.

Steele set the record for the number of tyres dumped by a single person after undercutting his rivals by avoiding legal disposal costs of 80p a tyre, according to the Environment Agency.

A proceeds of crime hearing at Lincoln Crown Court was told the company boss made a total benefit of £2,540,768 from his criminal activity.

But Steele, whose firm FCM Logistics (Tyres) Ltd has now ceased trading, will have to pay back just £122 after the hearing was told the small amount was now his only available asset.

Steele, who has been released on licence from the 15-month prison sentence passed on him in November, was given six months to pay the money.

Judge Sean Morris warned Steele he would face a further four days in prison in default if the cash was not paid back in that period.

Steele, who admitted a further charge during the same period of illegally supplying 60,000 tyres to an equestrian centre in Chipping Sodbury, near Brsitol, was also made the subject of a six-month community order.

During the previous hearing the court heard Steele was warned at least 20 times by the Environment Agency about his business at Deeping St Nicholas but took no action to register the operation.

When action began against him he rented land at King’s Lynn and in other parts of the country and set up new illegal tyre processing sites. The owners of the sites now face large bills to remove the waste tyres.

Environment Agency officials at first found 3,000 tyres at the Deeping St Nicholas site which rose to 400,000 as investigations continued. Four other sites with a total of 800,000 dumped tyres were found later.

Steele, of Chapel Farm, Deeping St Nicholas, admitted six charges relating to the illegal storage and treatment of waste tyres at sites in Deeping St Nicholas, King’s Lynn, Full Sutton near York, Essex and Worcestershire on dates in 2009 and 2010.

FCM Logistics (Tyres) Ltd admitted a similar charge relating to the operation at Deeping St Nicholas. No penalty was imposed on the company which has ceased trading with the loss of 50 jobs.