Tyre trader left a trail of destruction

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A BUSINESSMAN who ignored at least 20 warnings for illegally storing tyres and caused a “trail of destruction” has been jailed for 15 months.

Lincoln Crown Court heard how Carl Steele, who ran FCM Logistics (Tyres) Ltd, was repeatedly warned 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 elsewhere and set up new illegal tyre processing sites. The owners of the sites now face large bills to remove the waste tyres.

Steele (33) of Chapel Farm, admitted six charges relating to the illegal storage and treatment of waste tyres at his site in Deeping St Nicholas as well as King’s Lynn, Full Sutton near York, Essex and Worcestershire on dates in 2009 and 2010.

FCM admitted a similar charge for Deeping St Nicholas. No penalty was imposed on the company which has ceased trading.

Judge Sean Morris said: “You have left behind a horrendous mess for other people to deal with. You knew throughout that you were trading illegally but you never stopped. Now you have left a trail of destruction for other people to pick up.

“I am quite satisfied that your motive was the long term prospect of making big money.

“It is important that the courts make it clear that when the Environment Agency make orders those orders are obeyed otherwise other people will be tempted to cock a snook and trade on regardless.”

Ruby Hamid, prosecuting, said Steele operated a profitable business with over £1m passing through a bank account but he undercut his rivals by not paying licensing fees.

Tyre storage is regulated because of the environmental dangers of contaminants getting into the land and water courses.

Steele was treating some tyres and selling them for building materials. Others were illegally exported to Hong Kong and Vietnam.

At one point 400,000 waste tyres were stored at Chapel Farm. The numbers reduced only for investigators to discover they had been sent to other illegal storage sites.

Steele said he was trying to comply with the law and needed to keep trading. The firm has shut with more than 50 people losing their jobs.

Gordon Aspden, for Steele, said: “With the benefit of hindsight his behaviour was foolhardy but he acted in good faith. He accepts that what he has done has turned out to be disastrous. He is now a broken man in terms of business.”