A LANDOWNER who repeatedly flouted an injunction banning him from operating an illegal waste disposal site has been given further jail time.

John Bruce, 46, was convicted at the High Court in Birmingham for breaching an injunction brought by Wychavon District Council under the Town and Country Planning Act. The order, first issued on March 14 2016, banned him from using Ridgeway Park Farm, Throckmorton Airfield for the storage and disposal of waste.

The court heard it was the third time the council had brought proceedings against Mr Bruce for breaching the injunction. On the first occasion, on November 4 2016, Bruce had been fined £30,000 and given a one-year suspended sentence.

After council officers witnessed waste being illegally imported on to the site on January 25 2017 contrary to the injunction, action was taken for a second time resulting in Bruce being given a 28-day jail sentence and the continuation of the one-year suspended sentence.

Working closely with the Environment Agency, Wychavon uncovered extensive evidence the order was still being breached, leading to the latest hearing. Mr Bruce claimed the waste in question was woodchip used as bedding for animals.

However, laboratory evidence from the Environment Agency revealed it actually contained electrical cabling, textiles, rubber and printed circuit boards. Several vehicles were also spotted on site which were not consistent with agricultural use, as Bruce claimed.

As a result the judge activated the one-year suspended sentence and ordered it should run consecutively with sentences for criminal offences Bruce was convicted of by the Environment Agency.

In March this year he was ordered to serve 26 months for dumping, burying and burning 26,000 tonnes of hazardous waste at the site. He was then given a further 22 week sentence in September for carrying out illegal waste activities without a licence.

Bruce has also been banned from selling or leasing the land without permission from Wychavon District Council until October 24 2023 and will have to pay the council’s costs of more than £18,000.

A Wychavon District Council spokesman said: "Mr Bruce has shown a blatant disregard for the law, the danger he posed to the environment and the communities living near to the site by continuing to carry out his serious illegal activities.

“This was an excellent example of joint working with the Environment Agency and other partners to investigate these offences and I hope the sentence sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this kind of activity.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “This prosecution highlights the importance of the work behind the scenes and the evidence that the Environment Agency has provided to secure successful results.  We have participated in a strong multi-agency approach to tackle waste crime at this site, and this is reflected in the sentence awarded.

“Working with our partners, we will find, pursue and prosecute, persistent and organised waste crime offenders, so that we can continue to protect the environment and local communities living near sites such as Ridgeway Park Farm”.

The Environment Agency urge people to report waste crime on their incident hotline, 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.