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£1.2m in Assets Seized from Illegal Landfill Operator

Exeter Crown Court has ordered the seizure of nearly £1.2 million in assets from the operator of an illegal landfill site in Devon.

“The scale of illegal tipping at this site is the worst I have encountered”; said Adrian Evans, Environment Agency.

As sentencing was carried out today, John Craxford and his company John Craxford Plant Hire Ltd was also ordered to pay £86,937 in fines and legal costs.

Mr Craxford had pleaded guilty to a string of offences committed at Yannon Lane landfill site at Kingkerswell in Devon – including the illegal burying of “massive volumes of unsuitable waste” as well as waste licence and pollution permit breaches since March 2003.

The case marks a major success for the Environment Agency in the South West, as well as its partner in the major investigation “Operation Cleansweep”, the Assets Recovery Agency.

The seizure of £1,194,638 represents the largest ever made following an environmental conviction in this country. Judge Wassell said the company must make a payment of £300,000 by March 31 and the remaining balance will have to be paid by the end of July this year.

Mr Craxford, who was well-known on the international power boat racing circuit in the 1970s and 1980s, but has been keeping a low profile more recently, faces a five-year prison sentence if he does not pay up.

Adrian Evans from the environmental crime team of the Environment Agency said: “The scale of illegal tipping at this site is the worst I have encountered. Our investigation revealed a catalogue of offences, committed over a period of several years.

By working in partnership with the Assets Recovery Agency, we have been able to recover the money made from the illegal activity. I hope the case serves as a warning to others and demonstrates that environmental crime does not pay.” More…

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