Horrendous smells, rats and flies at illegal waste site

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A waste operator from Surfleet has appeared at Lincoln Crown Court after residents living near his site complained about smells “pungent like rotting meat”.

Alan Teesdale was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment suspended for two years for running an illegal site at Great Fen Road in Boston which was not suitable.

Judge Stuart Rafferty also ordered him on Friday to pay a contribution to the prosecution costs of £2,500.

Teesdale (73), of Coney Garth Lane, Surfleet, pleaded guilty to operating a regulated facility, namely a waste operation for the deposit, storage and treatment of waste, without being authorised by an environmental permit, contrary to regulations, between April 15, 2013 and February 18, last year.

Teesdale registered three exemptions with the Environment Agency to store, clean and treat waste plastics and cardboard at the site but in April 2013 complaints were made about smells and an investigation began.

The court was told that residents living nearby described the smells as “pungent like rotting meat” and were forced to close their doors and windows and stay indoors. One man had to abandon his gardening as the smell gave him a headache and he was sick.

Plastic containers with food remains and liquids were found stored outside and the smell was so strong it went beyond the boundary of the site.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency Anne-Lise McDonald told the court that the site drained into the South Forty Foot Drain and Teesdale had been sent warning letters for polluting the river in 2011, and a field ditch in 2012.

In April 2013 he was told that the site did not comply with the exemptions he had registered, because he was causing odour pollution, rats and flies.

A month later there was more waste on site. An officer saw waste being washed close to a surface water drain and Teesdale was told to stop and to clear it as there was no sealed drainage.

Mrs McDonald told the court that despite the warnings, during June and July liquid was allowed to leak onto the ground and water in the surface water drains was milky grey.

Teesdale was asked to produce an action plan showing how he proposed to comply with his exemptions but nothing changed and the relevant exemption was de-registered.

He was told to remove all the waste from the land by August 1. It was still there on August 2 and there were tanks full of washwater, fat and foods on site.

He told investigators that he had operated from the site for three years but had not realised what he was getting into. He had taken more waste than could be managed.

In mitigation, Andrew Vout said Teesdale had simply got in over his head.

He said Teesdale should have turned waste away and had since cleared the site.

Judge Rafferty said the waste activity was clearly beyond Teesdale’s ability and he allowed it to go on, causing horrendous odours, rats and flies.

He gave him credit for clearing the site and his early guilty plea, but said he would like to fine him the costs he avoided from his illegal operations. However, he said Teesdale had insufficient finance.

After the hearing Environment Agency officer Emma Ayres said: “Unregulated waste sites can cause harm to the environment and people. Neighbours of this site were subjected to horrible smells for four months and the river was at serious risk of pollution.”