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  1. ITV Report

Directors of recycling firm that dumped hazardous waste given suspended sentences

Photo: Environment Agency

Former directors of a recycling firm that dumped 61,000 tonnes of hazardous waste in Avonmouth have been given suspended sentences.

John Barcham and Lee Phelan have been handed suspended jail sentences of 6 and 8 months.

The company formerly known as Churngold Recycling Ltd has also been handed a £25,000 fine.

Lee Phelan (left) and John Barcham were given suspended sentences. Credit: ITV West Country

Churngold Recycling Ltd was paid to remove and safely treat 31,000 tonnes of waste from a BMW plant in Oxford.

The company sold the material which contained asbestos and lead as aggregate along with other waste it had collected.

This was used in the foundations of an Avonmouth supermarket distribution depot in 2011.

According to The Environment Agency, "workers at the Co-op site said the Churngold material gave them runny and sore eyes."

The Environment Agency says the sentencing follows a five-year investigation triggered by a whistleblower.

Hazardous waste must be handled and treated with great care to safeguard human health and the environment. This case shows the Environment Agency will take serious action against people who fail to comply with the law.

Churngold Recycling Ltd had a culture where commercial gain was given priority over environmental protection. We hope this prosecution sends out a strong deterrent message to others who flout the law.

– Adrian Evans, Environment Agency