Three men from Co. Armagh have been given suspended sentences for waste offences relating to over 6,836t of controlled waste.

48-year-old Thomas Joseph Curran, 42-year-old Gerald Curran and 37-year-old Barry Curran of Blackwatertown Road, Armagh, had previously entered guilty pleas to waste offences.

They each received a 25-month custodial sentences suspended for two years at Armagh Crown Court sitting in Newry.

The investigation, carried out by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), uncovered “significant fraudulent offending” regarding the operation of an unlicensed waste business by the defendants.

The case relates to the unauthorised deposit, keeping, treating and disposal of 6836.395t of controlled waste at a site located at Blackwatertown Road, Armagh, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said.

During an inspection of the site in October 2017, NIEA officers discovered a large amount of mixed waste in the yard adjacent to the dwelling house and stacked into the large sheds located on the site.

In addition, baled waste was observed in a shed next to the office, and numerous pieces of waste processing equipment including material handlers, balers, shredders, skips, ejector trailers and a trommel waste sorting machine were located on the site.

Checks revealed that the site had been operating without a waste licence since 2014.

A Proceeds of Crime investigation is ongoing, DAERA said.

The various parties were sentenced under Article 4(1)(b) of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997.

Barry Curran also pleaded guilty to a fraud offence for which he received a concurrent custodial sentence of 25 months suspended for 2 years.

Three further charges against the defendants were left on the books, meaning they can be reactivated at a later state subject to permission from the Crown Court of the Court of Appeal.