Morecambe dad left asbestos sheets on flatbed truck outside his estranged wife's Lancaster home

A former scrap dealer who left dangerous waste overhanging from a truck in a residential road has been given a conditional discharge for 12 months after a probe which amounted to £18,000 in legal costs.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 3:32 pm

Father-of-six Roderick Greaves , 63, of Oxcliffe Road, Morecambe, parked the "eyesore" outside his estranged wife's home on Harcourt Road in Lancaster, prompting complaints from residents, Preston Crown Court was told.

Greaves has already been before the court twice in relation to the same probe, including barging into an environmental officer and throwing diesel on his legs during the investigation, and for flouting a community protection notice requiring him to move the waste and the truck.

At Preston Crown Court he admitted two additional charges of failing to comply with duty to prevent the escape of waste, and failing to retain a written description of the waste he had handled between July and August 2018.

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Preston Crown Court

Judge Philip Parry pointed out "thousands and thousands and thousands" of pounds had been spent on the case, which the authority had no hope of recovering due to his limited means, as he now relies solely on state benefits

Megan Tollett, prosecuting on behalf of Lancaster City Council, said: "Environmental officers attended Harcourt Road after 10am on July 5, 2018, and observed a pickup vehicle loaded with unwrapped white asbestos sheeting materials and wood.

"There was no tail gate and the waste was overhanging the rear of the pickup."

Officers returned at 2.30pm to issue a community protection warning requiring him to move the waste by July 9.

When they returned to the scene on another day, the pickup was parked in the same position but with different waste on it, though it now had a tailgate.

The asbestos sheeting had been wrapped up but was still there.

When the officers attended again a week later, the truck had been moved five metres directly in front of his wife's home.

The asbestos material remained, with different waste than the previous occasion. Greaves told them some had been taken to the local household waste recycling centre.

Other inspections took place before finally, on August 2 at 8.50am, enforcement officers returned with two police officers and informed him the vehicle would be seized.

The pickup was loaded onto a recovery vehicle and transported to Whie Lund depot and has since been destroyed.

In April 2019 Greaves was convicted of assaulting council officer David Vickers and given a six month community order.

In a further hearing he was convicted in his absence of two counts of failing to comply with the community protection notice and received financial penalties and costs totalling £3,502.

Now he has been ordered to pay a £300 fine, £30 surcharge and £1,000 towards costs - added to his outstanding court fines - which he will pay at a rate of £60 a month

Traders who handle waste are subject to strict regulations governing how they handle it.

Evidence showed Greaves had been paid £60,000 for scrap metal he had sold at Morecambe Metals scrap yard, but he did not provide the authorities with a written description of it.

Defending, Collette Renton, said since the offences Greaves had moved to a static caravan with his 14-year-old son, was unable to work due to his arthritis, and received £1,000 a month in benefits.

She said: "Mr Greaves has accepted he did not secure the waste transfer notices and he couldn't provide those.

"He does however say he was going to an official scrap metal disposal business and he also wasn't provided by them with waste transfer notices.

"He says the majority of scrap had come from the property it was parked outside."

She said Greaves was "shocked" by the proceedings and "hadn't expected to be in such serious trouble with the law.

Greaves appeared to mumble and wave his arms in the dock as Judge Parry told him his "attitude stinks".

He said: " I have to say at 63 years of age, as you now are, it's disappointing that we are today, two and half years after the environmental officers first visited you, only now finishing these proceedings.

"Thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds has been spent on this case, none for which there is a hope of recuperating from you, given your limited financial circumstances.

"You have brought these proceedings very much on yourself, we would be here at all if you had just done what you were required to do."

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