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Mersham man given convicted sentence after letting waste be dumped and burnt on land


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A man who allowed other people to dump and burn rubbish on his land received a suspended prison sentence.

The landowner ignored repeated warnings to stop allowing the polluting waste to be burnt on his land in Mersham, near Ashford.

Michael Latter allowed waste to be dumped and burnt on his property. Photo: Ashford Borough Council
Michael Latter allowed waste to be dumped and burnt on his property. Photo: Ashford Borough Council

Michael Latter was found guilty of a series of offences relating to burning piles of waste on land connected to his Blind Lane house.

Margate Magistrates Court was told that unemployed Latter allowed transit van-sized loads of rubbish to be brought onto his land and burnt on a regular basis.

The waste was a mixture of demolition and building materials, household waste, plastics and furniture, many of which were heavily polluting when burnt.

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) were made aware of the issue in early 2020, with the council's Environmental Protection team making "repeated efforts" to stop him from doing this, with no luck.

When the case was brought to court, Latter plead not guilty to five five offences relating to waste being imported onto land adjoining his property, the illegal burning of waste in manner likely to cause pollution of the environment, and one count of failing to comply with a legal notice requiring he declare interests in the land.

The waste was often a mix of building materials, household waste, plastics and furniture. Photo: Ashford Borough Council
The waste was often a mix of building materials, household waste, plastics and furniture. Photo: Ashford Borough Council

At the hearing on March 4, he then admitted under oath that he had not complied with the council’s notice, and that he had allowed the importation and burning of waste on his property.

Appearing before Folkestone Magistrate's Court yesterday for sentencing, he was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with a warning that further offending within this time is likely to lead to imprisonment.

He was also ordered to pay £650 towards the council's costs plus a victim surcharge of £128.

Cllr Peter Feacey, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, said: “This sentence sends out a clear message that the Council will not tolerate such forms of illegal waste operation.

“This illegal activity not only causes pollution of the environment and annoyance to neighbours, but undermines those business that operate legitimately by avoiding the costs associated with lawful disposal and recycling, including tax avoidance.”

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