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Councils set to sue dump boss again: Michelins Farm boss in Rayleigh fails to meet court deadline
THE boss of a huge illegal dump could be prosecuted for a second time for failing to meet a court deadline to clean up the site.
Roger Phipps, 71, who lives at Michelins Farm, Rayleigh, was hit with £50,000 in fines and costs in January 2013 after pleading guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to turning 24 acres of green belt fields into an unlicensed tip.
The Environment Agency and Rochford District Council prosecution came after an Echo investigation revealed the land had been used for a decade for the illegal dumping and burning of a vast array of commercial waste, sending thick smoke billowing over the A127.
Part of his sentence, which included an eightmonth suspended prison termand 180 hours community service, was an order to clear the site of all rubble, timber and waste materials by January this year. He failed to meet this deadline.
He was handed a six-month extension to the deadline.
Now the agency, Rochford District Council and Essex County Council, which had separate enforcement orders to be complied with by last July, are to haul him back to court if the eyesore is not tidied up.
Junk stockpiled and burnt there has included asbestos, computer monitors, UV lights, loft insulation, concrete, scrap metal and timber.
A county c o u n c i l planning report said how its enforcement officers were set to take further action, adding: “Visits were carried out by Rochford, county council and the agency, to continue to check any compliance with the court order and outstanding enforcement notices.
“These site visits confirmed there remained a breach of planning control and there was no evidence to suggest the landowner had carried out any works to attempt to comply with the county council enforcement notice.
“The case was returned to the crown court where an extension of time was given and the new compliance date is July 2014.”
County councillors will vote at a development control committee meeting on Friday on a call to suspend any prosecution ahead of the new deadline.
Phipps, who claims he has not profited from the site and survives on rice pudding he buys from Lidl with his pension, has removed some of the rubbish since the court order.
He argued in court he needed more time to remove all waste from the site and was trying to comply.