Arrest warrant issued for man who committed waste crimes on farm

Investigators found a mass of illegal waste at Lee's Cotswolds farm (Photo: Environment Agency)
Investigators found a mass of illegal waste at Lee's Cotswolds farm (Photo: Environment Agency)

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of an offender who committed numerous waste crimes on a Cotswolds farm.

The defendant, David Lee, also known as David Ham, was tried in his absence after failing to appear at court last week.

Evidence of persistent offending led to his conviction on three counts of waste crime.

The 46-year-old, formerly of North Four Shires Stone Farm, Moreton-in-Marsh, had been living in a caravan on a farm while operating a commercial skip business from there.

Activities on the site included depositing skips full of waste; sorting, storing and burning waste; and removing waste for onward disposal.

The Environmental Agency said all of this had occurred without the relevant environmental permit.

The site is close to two designated nature conservation areas, and less than a mile from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "We are pleased to secure this conviction for running an illegal unpermitted waste operation.

"Waste crime can have a serious environmental impact which puts communities at risk, and undermines legitimate businesses."

Agency officers visited the site in May 2021 following up reports of burning waste, and to check compliance with permit exemptions that had recently been registered.

They observed machinery consistent with the running of a skip hire business, as well as several empty and full skips.

Piles of mixed waste, including household, construction and demolition waste, furniture, metal, wood and soil, were also observed.

Mr Lee was told on multiple occasions that all waste activity must stop immediately and that the site should be cleared.

Officers made further visits to check on progress, and it became apparent that the defendant was continuing to operate an unpermitted waste transfer site.

Burning of waste also continued, which on more than one occasion resulted in the fire service attending.

"Lee was convicted of waste crime, but he didn't attend court. A warrant is now out for his arrest," the Environment Agency said.