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Recycler Lewis Bertram of Eco_Matters avoids jail for storing too many mattresses

By Paul Hooper

Smarden boss Lewis Bertram has avoided having to spend tonight on a prison mattress for breaching Environmental Protection laws.

The 51-year-old was convicted under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for his mouldy mattress mountain.

The laws carry a maximum jail sentence of 18 months.

Lewis Bertram exits Canterbury Crown Court. Picture: Gary Browne FM4648676
Lewis Bertram exits Canterbury Crown Court. Picture: Gary Browne FM4648676

But Judge Heather Norton gave him a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, telling him: "This was a flagrant disregard for the law."

Canterbury Crown Court heard how one businessman who rents units at the same site on Smarden Business Park has claimed he has lost £29,000 in revenue because of the eyesore.

He ran Eco-matters taking in and shredding old mattresses and then disposing of materials in 2014/15.

But a jury heard the waste just grew disputed warnings from EA officers with five metre high piles of rotting mattresses.

How the site looked
How the site looked

"On April 26 you said you were hiring a shredder but you didn't do it," said judge Norton.

"By June nothing had changed and the mattresses were considered a fire hazard."

The judge said Bertram failed to co-operate with EA staff.

"I took view having heard your evidence that you weren't being truthful. With promises which were never delivered," she said.

The mattresses at the site
The mattresses at the site

"What was delivered was an eyesore and a fire risk. You showed a flagrant disregard for the law."

Bertram produced photos claiming to show the site being cleared.

But the EA provided pictures which showed the true situation which the judge said might be of two different sites, adding that it could be viewed as a attempt "to pull the wool over my eyes."

Bertram was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and pay £6,000 court costs.

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