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Environment Agency obtains £2.1m confiscation order against operator of illegal waste site

The Environment Agency last month secured one of its largest confiscation orders, against a defendant who operated an illegal waste site.

At a hearing at Worcester Crown Court on 22 December Judge Nicholas Cole ordered John Bruce, 48 of Tilesford Park, Pershore, to pay £2,101,708 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Mr Bruce had previously received a 26-month custodial sentence in May 2018 for operating an illegal waste site at Ridgeway Park Farm, Throckmorton Airfield near Pershore in Worcestershire between 2011 and 2014.

He has been given three months to pay or he faces seven years in jail if he fails to do so.

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The court heard that Mr Bruce had grown his business and had invested in various properties, land and cars. He also owned a large selection of expensive items of heavy plant hire which he hired, bought and resold, the Environment Agency said.

The agency added that Judge Cole had ruled that a Trust set up by the defendant was a sham and that money held in a bank account operated by the Trust, along with a property, formed part of his criminal benefit.

Judge Cole also determined that Mr Bruce had used a bank account operated by a proxy company to hide his ongoing unlawful activity and used it as he would his own business accounts.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “This is one of the biggest orders the Environment Agency has gained.

“The case shows that we’re not just content to prosecute those who run illegal waste sites, we’ll also come after them to get back the profits they made from their illegal activities and to recoup taxpayers’ money spent on pursuing them.”

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