Christopher Stokes prosecuted under Operation Angola
A Harrow man has been fined almost £500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,350 at Willesden Magistrates’ Court for dumping waste illegally on an Edmonton industrial estate.
Christopher Stokes, 48, of Grant Road, Harrow, London, pleaded guilty on 19 August 2021 to depositing the waste at land off Pegamoid Road and Barnes Road on the Montagu Industrial Estate in Edmonton, Enfield on 13 January 2018, without a permit.
He was fined £480, made subject to a victim surcharge of £48, and ordered to pay costs of £2,350 at a rate of £10 per week.
The incident happened after travellers moved onto land owned by Enfield Borough Council on the Montagu Industrial Estate in December 2017. They then occupied vacant buildings on land off Dane Road and Barnes Road. The buildings and surrounding land were subsequently subject to the large-scale dumping of waste. Mr Stokes claimed he was moving the waste that he dumped to make space for his sister’s caravan, and received no financial reward.
The court heard how CCTV footage showed waste, including a table, being dumped onto land close to the junction of Barnes Road and Pegamoid Road, Edmonton, from a white panel van registered to Stokes. He had previously been convicted of a similar offence of depositing controlled waste without a licence.
Dan Kettridge, Environment Crime Team Leader for the Environment Agency, said:
We hope that today’s ruling sends out a strong message that we will search out and prosecute anyone found to be dumping waste illegally.
The operation of a waste site without regard for the environment and the law has the potential to harm our natural resources, blight communities and undermine the legitimate businesses that do follow the rules.
Our role is to protect the environment for people and wildlife, so we won’t hesitate to take action against those who put it risk. And to anyone flouting the rules, our message is clear: you won’t get away with it.
Stokes was prosecuted by the Environment Agency in a joint operation with Enfield Borough Council under Operation Angola. This targets criminal gangs that dump significant amounts of waste across the South East.
Christopher Stokes pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully depositing waste on 13 January 2018, contrary to s.33 (1) (a) and (6) of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990. He was originally charged with an alternative of knowingly causing waste to be deposited on 13 January 2018, contrary to s.33 (1) (a), (5) and (6) of the EPA 1990). He was sentenced on a basis of plea that his culpability was reckless and the harm caused category 3.