Published: 19:21, 10 July 2019
| Updated: 09:58, 11 July 2019
A 27-year-old woman who helped two family members run an illegal waste site has walked free from court.
Billie Mete managed the facility with her father, James, and sister, Lucy, on land adjoining Thirwell Farm in Drove Lane, Hernhill.
Following a six-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court, a jury found the trio guilty of breaking environmental law.
It came after 135 lorry-loads of soil and builders' waste were found to have been unlawfully dumped and treated at the site near Faversham between 2014 and 2016.
Chris Back, from the Environment Agency, said: "This was a deliberate breach of the law.
"James, Lucy and Billie Mete all knew their actions amounted to a criminal offence, but still allowed waste to be dumped, kept and treated at Thirwell Farm for a number of years with no permit from the Environment Agency.
"The Metes' illegal activity affected the public's enjoyment of the area, as a footpath ran through the site.
"The Environment Agency requires the support of legitimate waste operators and the public to report all illegal waste operations to us, so enforcement action can be taken.
"Thirwell Farm still does not have any permit to allow the deposit and treatment of waste."
Billie Mete was today sentenced to six weeks in prison, suspended for two years.
However, she was not ordered to pay costs by Judge Martin Huseyin, who described her role in the illicit operation as "minor".
She walked free from court having already served more than half of a 28-day stint in jail for failing to attend court in March.
Warrants for the arrest of James Mete and Lucy Mete, both of whom also went missing during the trial, are still outstanding.
The latter owned part of Thirwell Farm, where she also lived, and allowed her father, of the same address, to use it to illegally deposit and treat the rubbish.
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More by this authorJack Dyson