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Company boss jailed after dumping 658 tonnes of waste in Sunderland warehouse

The site was covered in litter Photo: Environment Agency

A company boss has been jailed for ordering HGV drivers to illegally dump 658 tonnes of waste in disused Sunderland factory.

The Environment Agency said that surveillance was conducted of a large, disused factory building in Lisburn Terrace, Sunderland between December 2015 and January 2016. The premises had been broken into and used to illegally dispose of 658 tonnes of waste, despite there being no valid environmental permit or exemption to allow this activity at the site.

The Sunderland site Credit: Environment Agency

Michael Coates, 33, of Peareth Hall Road, Washington, was jailed for 14 months and disqualified from acting as a company director for five years.

Co-accused Michael Brian Strong was not given a prison sentence. The 50 year old, of Farleigh Road, Sunderland, was ordered to complete 140 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £500 compensation at Newcastle Crown Court.

The Court heard how Coates, who had a management role with a now defunct company, Aurigo Recycling Ltd, had directed HGV drivers to Lisburn Terrace. Strong, who ran various businesses in Sunderland, also pleaded guilty to illegally depositing waste on the premises after his vehicles were repeatedly seen at the site.

On 25 January 2016 officers caught red-handed an associate of Strong with keys to the site, along with an HGV driver working for Coates who was off-loading several tonnes of mixed waste.

The Court was also told how Coates and Strong had a fake permit, which could be used to deceive customers into believing waste could be legally deposited at the warehouse. Strong told the court that he’d honestly believed it to be a genuine permit, but this evidence was rejected by Judge Simon Batiste.