Illegal waste and scrap collectors hit with nearly £30k in fines as part of council clampdown
Wiltshire Council has dealt another blow to unlicensed scrap metal and waste collectors operating in the county as three people have been fined nearly £30,000 in total.
Mr Stephen Dickel of Westwood Road, Salisbury, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing for failing to produce a waste carriers' licence and operating an unlicensed scrap metal collection business.
He was fined a total of £5,500, including costs, at a sentencing hearing heard at Salisbury Magistrates on 31 August 2023. This is not the first time Mr Dickel has been prosecuted by the council for this offence, as he was previously prosecuted for unlicensed scrap metal collection in October 2019. He also paid back £2,000 he made in illegal income as a result of a Proceeds of Crime case brought by Wiltshire Council officers and heard at Salisbury Crown Court on 6 February 2023.
Stephen Dickel's co-defendant, Warren Chant, also of Westwood Road, Salisbury, pleaded guilty to transporting waste without a waste carriers licence and to operating as an unlicensed scrap collector at an earlier hearing.
The court heard the pair were using a waste carriers licence they were not entitled to use when they were stopped by Wiltshire Police in January 2022, and they falsely claimed they were in the process of applying for a scrap metal collectors licence issued by Wiltshire Council. The pair continued to operate illegally, using social media to market their illegal scrap and waste business. Council officers will now pass the details of these prosecutions on to HMRC for further investigation as no tax was paid on all income made from this illegal activity.
In a separate case, Mr Sam Sneyd of Victoria Road, Devizes was found guilty of operating an unlicensed scrap business and transporting waste without a waste carriers licence following a detailed investigation by the council's Environmental Enforcement Officers. He was ordered to pay £22,000 in fines and costs during a hearing at Swindon Magistrates on 1 September 2023. Sneyd had operated unlicensed for five years, making money from his illegal activity throughout that period.
Cllr Caroline Thomas, Cabinet Member for Highways and Waste, said:
Well done to our hard-working enforcement officers in securing these convictions. I would also like to thank our colleagues in Test Valley Borough Council, Portsmouth City Council, HMRC and Wiltshire Police who all assisted in the investigation of Dickel and Chant. These individuals are prolific illegal operators who take business away from lawful and licensed businesses in the county.
Anyone who uses social media sites to find scrap metal or waste collectors should be very wary about who they allow to take their scrap metal and waste, as people can be fined if they give their waste to unlicensed collectors. Administrators of social media selling sites should also ensure anyone advertising for waste collection displays their full upper tier waste carriers licence number and scrap metal dealers licence number if they are advertising for scrap metal collection.
As these convictions show, we take unlicensed waste and scrap metal collection very seriously, and we will work hard to prosecute offenders.