Northampton businessman handed suspended jail sentence for illegally storing 1,300 tonnes of tyres

A man who illegally stored tonnes of waste tyres has been handed a suspended prison term at Northampton Crown Court.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 1:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 1:11 pm

Andrew Eyre, of Poppy Field Road, Wootton, was found to have more than 1,000 tonnes of tyres when his company was legally only allowed to keep 84 tonnes.

The 50-year-old was a joint director of IN4 Ltd until his fellow director, John Mullen of Frankston Avenue, Milton Keynes, retired in February 2017.

Eyre was then left as sole director of the company based in Brackmills Industrial Estate.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

More than 1,000 tonnes of tyres where found abandoned at a site in Brackmills Industrial Estate. Photo: Environment Agency.

When Environment Agency inspectors visited the site in March 2017 they found 1,300 tonnes of tyres, which is more than 15 times the amount the company were legally allowed to store.

During sentencing at Northampton Crown Court on Friday (January 17), Judge Rupert Mayo heard how the pair’s actions could have seriously polluted the environment and risked people’s homes, health and lives and could have caused a potentially life-threatening fire.

By April 2017 the Brackmills site had been entirely filled with tyres and abandoned.

Eyre had set up a second company, Synergy Tyres, in Broad March Industrial Estate in Daventry, where he continued to stockpile tyres.

120 tonnes of tyres were also found at Eyre's Daventry site. Photo: Environment Agency.

He operated without a permit for four months until Environment Agency officers discovered more than 120 tonnes of tyres in April 2017.

The court heard that in May 2017, Eyre applied for exemptions to process up to 40 tonnes of tyres a week without an environmental permit, as long as the site adhered to certain conditions and safety measures.

But within a month he had already stockpiled more than twice that limit and he continued to ignore advice to bring the company in line with the law.

The company’s exemptions were voided in March 2018, effectively revoking its permission to operate.

When questioned, Eyre claimed he didn’t understand the permitting rules but the court heard he’d been formally cautioned in connection with two other sites in the past.

Mullen admitted he knew about the concerns over how his company was operating, but did nothing to resolve them because he hoped it would “sort itself out”.

Sentencing Synergy Tyres (Midland) Ltd and its director Eyre, Judge Mayo said there had been, “a deliberate and flagrant breach in the face of warnings given”.

He ordered the company to pay a fine of £11,250 and sentenced Eyre to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months on condition that he stays out of trouble and performs 150 hours of unpaid work.

Mullen was made subject to a six month community order with a requirement that he complete 15 days of Rehabilitation Activities.

Rebecca Staff, an environment officer at the Environment Agency, said: “It’s very clear that the mismanagement of these sites was no innocent mistake – rather, laws were broken and legitimate businesses undercut simply for the sake of profit.

“These businesses deliberately ignored rules meant to make sure that waste sites are run safely.

“Most worrying of all, people and the environment were put at serious risk.

Lives could have been lost if a fire had broken out at either site, as one was mere metres away from homes and the other was connected to industrial units.

“We hope this case sends a message loud and clear – we won’t hesitate to take action against those who put profit above their environmental responsibilities.”