Court forces fuel-laundering farmer to pay back £15,500

A Crossmaglen farmer involved in fuel laundering has had £15,571 (€17,518) confiscated in court after 127t of domestic and commercial waste were found on his land.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) also found around 34t of hazardous waste across two other sites in south Co. Armagh.

Martin Conlon of Loughross Road, Crossmaglen was made the subject of a £15,571 confiscation order at Newry Magistrates’ Court, for offences under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 on Friday (October 13).

Costs of £902.40 (€1,015) were also awarded against the defendant.

24 waste charges

Conlon previously pleaded guilty to 24 charges relating to treating, keeping and depositing controlled waste (including domestic, commercial and hazardous waste), failing to comply with a notice to remove controlled waste and pollution of the environment.

The waste was discovered during a visit by officers from the NIEA to Conlon’s Loughross Road house, where they discovered a fuel laundering plant with associated hazardous waste.

The court heard how NIEA officers also visited a site Conlon ran at Cullaville Road, Crossmaglen where they discovered a large quantity of mixed domestic and commercial waste which was partially burned, and hazardous waste associated with fuel laundering.

Conlon has three months to pay his confiscation order, with a default custodial sentence of nine months should he fail to pay.

For each of the 24 waste charges he pleaded guilty to, Conlon has received a three-month prison sentence – suspended for two years – to run concurrently.

Officers on site found fuel sludge/liquid waste stored in intermediate bulk containers. Officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs were in attendance at both sites.

NIEA officers estimated the amount of hazardous waste at Loughross and Cullaville Road sites to be 12t and 22t respectively.

It’s estimated to have cost the authorities almost £12,000 (€1,350) to dispose of the hazardous waste.

Meanwhile, NIEA officers estimated the amount of mixed domestic and commercial waste at the Cullaville Road site to be approximately 127t.

The cost of disposal for this mixed domestic and commercial waste was estimated to be between £25,000 (€28,126) and £28,000 (€31,501).

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