Father and sons avoid jail after baling and storing waste on their farm

A father and his two sons from Co. Derry were given suspended prison sentences after more than 5,000t of waste were found in a landfill at their farm.

The trio pleaded guilty to several offences at Londonderry Crown Court.

James Lagan (60) of Ballygrooby Road in Moneymore, Co. Derry and his sons Michael (32) and Seamus (31) returned for sentencing today.

The case involved the keeping of around 5,100t of waste in three areas of a farm on the Ballygrooby Road, a large proportion of which had been infilled into a yard where machinery was stored.

Transporting waste

Although Michael Lagan had previously held a registration of carriers authorisation, allowing him to transport waste on the road, there were no waste authorisations in place for any of this material.

The waste included two areas of baled and loose commercial and domestic waste; including shoes, plastics, textiles and children’s toys.

The infilled yard area contained a mixture of inert construction and demolition waste and non-inert waste including plastics, metals and treated wood.

The court heard a number of vehicles were also stored across the area, alongside agricultural contracting machinery. Waste had also been burned at points across the site.

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) inspected the site during April and again in September 2013 when an intrusive survey was undertaken.

Suspended sentences

James Lagan received a six-month imprisonment sentence suspended for 12 months for keeping waste without a waste authorisation.

Michael Lagan received nine months suspended for two years for keeping waste and 12 months, suspended for two years, for keeping waste in a polluting manner (to run concurrently).

Seamus Lagan was given nine months suspended for two years for keeping waste.

‘A terrible blot’

Sentencing, today, Judge Philip Babington said that waste offending created a “terrible blot” on the countryside and it “needed to be stopped”.

NIEA had imposed a statutory notice on the Lagans to remove the waste from their site to a suitably authorised one. However, the majority of the waste remained on site.

‎A financial investigation into the benefit accrued due to these unauthorised waste activities is ongoing and is running in accordance with site remediation plans.