The Environment Agency has prosecuted a Chichester-based skip hire firm for illegally trading for over eight years without any planning permission or environmental permits in place.
The prosecution was brought as part of Operation Mosaic, a multi-agency initiative that includes the Environment Agency, the police, local authorities and environmental organisations, which is cracking down on waste crime in the Chichester district and across the Solent.
Maxi Skips Limited, based at Polthooks Farm, Clay Lane, Fishbourne, appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, November 13.
The company pleaded guilty to the offence and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs £2,500.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “The Court heard that in September 2012, Environment Agency officers visited the Maxi Skips site with planning officers from West Sussex County Council.
“They witnessed staff at the site sorting waste from the skips that had been brought in.
“The director of the business was told that they had to stop the operations at the site with immediate effect and this was complied with. When interviewed by the Environment Agency, the company director made a full admission into operating an illegal waste transfer station and skip business without planning permission or environmental permits in place.”
The company entered an early guilty plea and admitted the offence at the first opportunity.
A spokesperson for the agency said the company also co-operated fully with the Environment Agency throughout the investigation.
Simon Moore of the Environment Agency said: “It is very disappointing that Maxi Skips Ltd chose to operate a waste transfer station without any planning permission or permits and felt that profit was more important than operating legally.
“Operation Mosaic in an ongoing initiative and the net is closing in on people who think they can make easy money undercutting legitimate waste businesses by putting the local environment at risk. We are constantly gathering information on illegal waste sites, criminal activities and environmental crime in the Chichester district and across the Solent.
“Together with our partners we are taking a zero tolerance approach against offenders. In cases like this where individuals consistently operate illegally, we have absolutely no hesitation in prosecuting them as we want to make sure that waste crime doesn’t pay.”
Maxi Skips declined to comment.