Waste “career criminal” ordered to pay £2.1m

A convicted waste crime offender has been ordered to pay £2,101,708 following a confiscation case at Worcester Crown Court, which concluded on 22 December 2020.

John Bruce, from Pershore, was ordered to pay the amount following a case brought by the Environment Agency under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He has been set a three-month deadline to pay and faces seven years in jail if he fails to do so.

Bruce received a 26-month custodial sentence in May 2018 for operating an illegal waste site at Ridgeway Park Farm, Throckmorton between 2011 and 2014. 

He was initially prosecuted for six offences where waste totalling 25,000m3 was being dumped, buried and burned at the farm. The court heard how Bruce had grown his business and invested in various properties, land and cars. He also owned a large selection of expensive items of heavy plant, which he hired, bought and resold.

The judge ruled that a trust set up by Bruce was a sham, and that the money held in a bank account operated by it was for criminal benefit. It was also determined that a bank account operated by a proxy company was used to hide ongoing unlawful activity.

James Puzey, prosecuting counsel for the Agency, said: “The defendant is a dedicated career criminal who has ignored planning and environmental law to run a waste haulage and processing business.”

A spokesperson for the Agency said: “This is one of the biggest orders the Environment Agency has gained. The case shows that we’re not just content to prosecute those who run illegal waste sites, we’ll also come after them to get back the profits they made from their illegal activities and to recoup taxpayers’ money spent on pursuing them.”

Image credit | Alamy
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