POLLUTING coastal beauty spots near Chichester has left a shipping firm facing a £95,000 bill.
Pretty Time shipping was found guilty of illegally discharging two tonnes of palm oil into the sea in January. The spillage caused a chemical alert when the waxy yellow lumps washed ashore, and beaches at East and West Wittering were closed for three days for an emergency clean-up operation.
The company, which said it had a zero-tolerance policy towards pollution, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £75,000 costs.
District Judge Gary Lucie said the Pretty Time was ‘in the right place at the right time carrying precisely the combination of oils found on the beaches’.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which brought the case, welcomed the verdict saying it ‘sends a clear message to the shipping industry’.