A Fenland businessman has escaped an immediate jail sentence and been left £47,000 out of pocket after running an illegal, rat-infested skip company.
Skip operator Israr Ahmed ran Dial-A-Skip at the Gaul Farm Industrial Estate in Gaul Road, March, without a permit for more than a year, undercutting competitors.
He was also dumping waste at the unit he rented and another rented by his wife on the same site, but it rotted and became a “health hazard” when it attracted large rats.
Ahmed, 29, of Mayfair Gardens, Wisbech St Mary, appeared before Peterborough Crown Court for sentence last week after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to running the business without a permit between January 1, 2011, and April 27, 2012.
He was sentenced to 32 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 200 hours unpaid work in the community. A £30,000 confiscation order was made against him with a nine-month prison sentence in default and he was ordered to pay £17,100 in costs.
He also admitted two charges of failing to produce waste notes, but there was no separate penalty.
Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecuting, said Ahmed knew he needed a permit to operate the site as a waste dump and had been advised by environment officers.
“He was being paid to take waste and was depositing and treating it illegally on the site,” she said.
She told the court he would have had to make major changes to the site before a permit could have been granted so had saved money by not doing that.
He was twice served a notice to produce waste transfer notes but failed to do so and later withdrew a waste permit application he had submitted.
In mitigation, Andrew Thomas QC said Ahmed was “naive” and did not completely ignore the advice of the Environment Agency.
Judge Sean Enright said the waste site was an eyesore and health hazard resulting in large rats. He said Ahmed misled the Environment Agency, even in a taped interview, and was undercutting his competitors for financial gain.
He said the custody threshold had been crossed but a prison sentence could be suspended as he had been naive.