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Builder fined for dumping debris outside Borders visitor centre

A builder has been fined £1,800 for dumping debris containing asbestos outside a popular Borders visitors centre.

Officers who discovered the 10-ton pile of waste traced it back to a house that was being renovated four miles away.

The 10-ton pile of waste was dumped outside the entrance to a popular visitor centre near Ancrum Credit: Borders Press Agency

Donald McAllister, who runs a roofing, joinery and building firm in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, claimed he paid a man £700 to get rid of the waste. Instead, it was taken from the house in Lanton, Roxburghshire, and dumped outside the entrance to the Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre near Ancrum.

Donald McAllister, 46, pleaded guilty, at Selkirk Sheriff Court, to a charge of failing to take proper steps to dispose of the building waste under the Environmental Protection Act and was fined £1,800.

Donald McAllister pleaded guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court. Credit: Borders Press Agency

This represents the worst aspects of the construction industry.

– Sheriff Peter Paterson, Selkirk Sheriff Court

Prosecutor Keith Jones from the Crown office's wildlife and environment crime unit said the Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre was a popular attraction with families and dog walkers and at the time of the offence, July 23, was busy due to the school holidays.

Samples taken from the waste were later found to contain hazardous white asbestos called chrysolite.

Scottish Borders Council removed the waste to a special site at a cost of £1,768.80.

The prosecution said even though Donald McAllister had paid Charlie O'Connor to take the waste from the site where renovation work was under way, he had a duty of care to ensure O'Connor had the appropriate licence to allow him to remove it.

The prosecutor said Donald McAllister had made no enquiry as to where the waste was being taken.

He accepts he did not make the necessary enquiries to ensure the proper disposal of the waste. It is his position he paid this man £700 to take it away.

– Defence lawyer Ed Hulme

Sheriff Peter Paterson expressed concern that Donald McAllister had failed to provide tax returns to reveal his true income despite the court requesting them.

The defence lawyer produced wage slips showing McAllister took £1,500 out of the business which he was about to wind up and move to Canada.

But Sheriff Paterson did not accept that was the true position and regarded his salary as far higher when imposing the £1,800 fine.