Kent business owner could be jailed for waste offences at his recycling site
The owner of a mattress waste and recycling firm in Kent has been found guilty of a number of environmental breaches following a court trial in Canterbury Crown Court.
Lewis Bertram, of Eco_Matters, a mattress and bed recycling company based in Ashford, is facing a prison sentence after being found guilty of three environment charges under the Environment Protection Act. Due to the seriousness of his waste offences, the business man could be jailed for up to five years or face unlimited fines.
The Environment Agency (EA) began its investigation at the site on Smarden Business Estate following a number of tip offs from local residents. At the site, the EA found a uncontainable ‘mountain’ of mattresses and beds, including metal and wooden frames.
The owners of two units at Smarden Business Estate also claimed the “mattress mountain” created such an eyesore, that they have been unable to rent out their premises, resulting in losses of £11,000 and £35,000.
The 51-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty to the three charges, and denied two further charges of breaching his environment license and breaching his waste storage exemptions. The jury deliberated over the case for five hours before returning their guilty verdict.
The judge demanded an investigation to be carried out to assess if the waste has now been removed from the site, however, the EA claims it has not been fully cleared and piles of rubbish remain.
Alan Cansdale, EA environment manager, said: “His actions showed blatant disregard for local residents and businesses putting the environment and local amenity at risk. Bertram ignored numerous opportunities given to him by our officers to bring the operations back into compliance.”
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