Brierley Hill waste firm boss behind bars for Christmas

Stourbridge News: Pic by Phil Loach. Pic by Phil Loach.

THE boss of a Brierley Hill waste firm will be spending Christmas behind bars after being sentenced to six months in prison for failing to clear a mammoth pile of rubbish.

Robert McNaughton, director of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), was today (Monday December 23) beginning his sentence after failing to comply with a High Court order to clear a mountain of waste at the Moor Street site which at its peak stood at 40-feet.

The punishment was originally meted out in June, but the sentence was suspended until today to give Mr McNaughton one last chance to take action and clear the site which residents have long branded an eyesore.

However, after missing the final September 10 deadline and failing to fulfil his legal obligations he was found in contempt of court.

The judge, Mr Justice MacDuff, said there had been repeated and flagrant breaches of court orders by Mr McNaughton as he activated the suspended jail sentence.

David Hudson, environment manager for the Environment Agency, said after today’s hearing: “In handing Mr McNaughton a custodial sentence, the court has recognised the seriousness of not complying with environmental legislation and court orders.

“We know residents are frustrated and we appreciate their ongoing support. Our priority has always been to get the site cleared, and we think those responsible should still be made to pay. We will continue to work to make this happen.”

The judge also gave the Environment Agency permission to apply for an order to seize the defendant’s assets to comply with a court order to remove the waste.

Ahead of today's sentencing the Agency had already revoked RDF's permit to operate and it also issued a further order stating the site must be be cleared of all remaining waste by February 17 2014.

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