Men fined for scrap metal offences
A Washington man has found himself more than £800 out of pocket after pleading guilty to illegally trading as a scrap metal dealer in County Durham.
Steven Adams, of Collingwood Court in Sulgrave, admitted trading as a scrap metal dealer without a scrap metal licence, transporting scrap metal in the course of business or with a view to profit and failing to produce copies of the records of all controlled waste transferred when requested to do so.
The 33-year-old's vehicle was fully loaded with scrap items when it was stopped by officers from Durham Constabulary on 6 January this year in Pelton.
One of our neighbourhood wardens attended the scene and after Adams confirmed he did not have a scrap metal licence or authority to transport waste, he was requested to provide his licence and any receipts for the waste collection for the period between 1 November and 6 January within seven days.
After failing to respond, Adams was invited to make an appointment to be interviewed regarding the potential offences and two further letters were sent on 15 and 22 February. None of the letters ever received a response.
The court also heard that Adams has a previous conviction for collecting waste and scrap metal without a licence in 2015, for which he had been ordered to pay £370.
Appearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court, Adams stated he had returned to collecting as he was in financial hardship and that he has been trying to start afresh.
He was fined £320. He was also ordered to pay costs of £483.50 and a victim surcharge of £32 - a total of £835.50
Breach of order
In a separate case heard at Peterlee Magistrates Court, 28-year-old Aaron Straughair from Brickgarth in Houghton-le-Spring was ordered to pay £230 after breaching a criminal behaviour order (CBO) which prohibited him from carrying out the collection of waste or goods from residential or commercial premises in County Durham.
In June 2017, our neighbourhood wardens observed three males collecting scrap metal from a vehicle in the Thornton Lea area of Chester-le-Street.
After the vehicle was stopped and the occupants questioned, Straughair initially refused to provide his name or details, but records later revealed he was the subject of a two-year CBO, which had been imposed in July 2015.
He was then invited to attend an interview under caution but failed to respond.
The court heard that Straughair had been collecting scrap for a living when he had left school and had been unable to obtain a licence when new legislation was introduced.
He had not been driving on the day of the offence and said he had not gone out deliberately to disobey the CBO, which was set to come to an end the following month and had never previously been breached.
Straughair was ordered to pay a £200 fine and a £30 victim surcharge, with a 12-month CBO attached to the sentence, prohibiting him from having sole possession of scrap metal or carrying out collections of waste or goods unless employed by a properly licensed scrap metal dealer.
Ian Hoult, our neighbourhood protection manager, said: "All scrap metal dealers must be licensed to collect scrap metal as well as to carry waste and dispose of it lawfully. Both of these cases should act as a warning that we will take action against anyone flouting the rules.
"Anyone carrying scrap metal should make sure they are working within the law and we would encourage people with any information regarding possible unlicensed dealers to contact us on 03000 26 0000. We also want to remind people if they are getting rid of waste to make sure they do so legally and know where it will end up."