Three people and two firms accused of taking part in illegal waste disposal worth more than £1million have been dramatically cleared of all charges.
Brothers Allen Williamson and Martin Williamson and technical manager Samantha Bichard were formally found not guilty of any wrong doing after the Environment Agency offered no evidence in a hearing at Hull Crown Court (October 13) more than three years after the allegations were raised.
The trio along with Allensway Recycling Ltd, Allensway Transport Ltd, based in Holme-on Spalding Moor, and five others had faced a total of 73 charges in a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency concerning 18 different sites in Yorkshire.
The case collapsed after allegations were made against the Environment Agency.
On the steps of the court Allen Williamson, of Howden Road, Holme-upon-Spalding-Moor, spoke of his relief after three and a half years.
“This has brought to an end a very difficult period in which all the companies’ bank accounts and assets were frozen and serious unfounded allegations were made against us,” said Mr Williamson.
“I have always enjoyed a good relationship with my local officers and I don’t hold them to blame in the slightest for the decisions taken by the investigation team.
“I look forward to continue to work with them in the future and to move constructively to rebuild the business.
“The past three and a half years have been an ordeal for me, my family and my workforce. I want to thank every one of them, and the commercial partners who stood by me and did not allow the allegations made against me to sour their view of me and the companies.” He said the investigation had struck the firm’s turnover forcing it to reduce its workforce from 100 to 35 – but the company was looking to expand. The verdicts were formally returned by Judge Mark Bury in a hearing, on October 13, where Environment Agency barrister David Brooke said it would be offering no evidence.
Two members of the Environment Agency staff have gone on long term sick and were not able to respond to defence requests for evidence vital for a fair trial.
The accused all faced differing allegations over a 24-month period starting in 2011 which included allowing the tipping of waste illegally, operating without permits, and making false statements to obtain permits.
The conduct alleged in some of the charges includes illegally processing controlled waste and storing treated wood and plastics.
The most serious charge of illegally keeping waste likely to harm human health was faced by Martin Williamson and Allen Williamson alone.