A man has avoided jail after fly-tipping 61 tonnes of waste in what was described as "one of the worst" cases ever seen in Middlesbrough.
Darren Mills dumped the rubbish, which included two tonnes of asbestos waste, as well as large amounts of household waste, building materials and household appliances, near a primary school and nursery.
The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to three offences of depositing controlled waste, operating a regulated facility without an environmental permit, and disposing of waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.
Mills - who was known as Van Man Mills - was given a nine month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and will have to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.
He will also have to pay £1,000 in costs to Middlesbrough Council and was given a criminal behaviour order, which prevents him from advertising a service to clear waste on social media and from working as a "man with a van".
Judge Christopher Smith told Mills he has "run amock dumping van load after van load for financial gain." Teesside Crown Court heard the waste became a "nuisance" to those living nearby as it had been dumped on land near Turford Avenue Social Club in Middlesbrough, next to Brambles Primary Academy and Minnow’s Children’s Day Nursery.
Former Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston had previously said the fly-tipped site was “undoubtedly one of the worst we’ve ever seen in Middlesbrough”.
Mills, of Shakespeare Avenue, Grangetown, committed the offences between 1 April and 31 December 2021.
Dale Metcalfe, operational community safety manager for Middlesbrough Council, said it was a "fantastic" outcome.
He added: "This sends a clear message that we will not as an organisation in Middlesbrough accept this type of behaviour. People have a responsibility to make sure when they are going to dispose of waste using a man with a van they also have a responsibility to make sure they are using a proper provider."
He added: "I want to send a clear message to those that are collecting waste and dumping it illegally that we will do all we can as an authority to track you down and take action and put you before the court."
Melanie Gibson, 46, of Cresswell Road, Grangetown, has previously faced court over the fly-tipping.
She admitted knowingly allowing controlled waste to be deposited without a permit on one day.
Her barrister Robin Turton said she was forced to move house quickly and arranged for Mills to move her things at short notice. He turned up with bags of rubbish in the back of his vehicle, which he left at the social club and never picked up and continued to use the site to dispose of “illegal rubbish.”
She was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay the council £150 costs after the judge heard she was unemployed and receiving universal credit.
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