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Owner of unauthorised scrap yard hit for £200k in fines, costs and confiscation

The owner of an unauthorised scrap yard in South Staffordshire was last month fined £24,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £28,280 at Birmingham Crown Court.

The hearing on 25 October followed the conclusion of a successful Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) application brought by South Staffordshire Council, supported by financial investigators at Birmingham City Council.

Andrew Taff, 59, from Hatherton, the owner of A5 Tyres, had earlier in the month been ordered to pay a £150,000 confiscation order after he was deemed to have benefited financially from his offending.

Taff did not have planning permission for his unauthorised scrap yard, which was built on Green Belt land.

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In November 2011, Taff was served with an enforcement notice by the planning enforcement team at South Staffordshire Council, which required him to clear the site and stop using it as a scrap yard and for storing vehicles, parts and skips.

After an unsuccessful appeal, he was given a further 12 months to comply with the notice.

The council said that despite its officers visiting the site in 2013 and 2014 the defendant made no effort to cease operations.

On 26 July 2017, after changing his plea, Taff pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court to three allegations of failing to comply with the enforcement notice. Around this time, he complied with the enforcement notice and cleared up the site and ceased operations.

Cllr Roger Lees, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services at South Staffordshire, said: “This case highlights the patient and diligent work of our legal team and enforcement officers. As a council, we will not hesitate to prosecute people who carry out unauthorised activities no matter how long it takes.

“POCA is designed to take the profit out of crime and I'm delighted that the seriousness of the offence has been recognised by the courts and that this successful prosecution will result in confiscated criminal assets benefiting the community instead and go towards buying more CCTV cameras to catch fly-tippers."

The council said it would receive around £28,000 of the confiscation order with the remaining monies split between the Home Office, the Court and financial investigators at Birmingham City Council.

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