It was a rubbish tip like no other – over 3,000 tons of foul smelling refuse infested with rats and insects.
Ranbir ‘Nick’ Singh and his father Balwant ‘Bob’ Singh Bagrhia filled Butlers Yard in Parsonage Street, Oldbury to the rafters with household and industrial waste – just like they had packed another site in the neighbouring Nelson Street with so much rubbish it spilled on to the pavement and road and threatened to bring down a wall.
The pair ran Langley Skip Hire and saved almost £250,000 by illegally stockpiling over 4,000 tons of refuse they had been paid to take to landfill sites.
Singh, of Goode Close, Oldbury, was jailed for 18 months yesterday leaving a family facing potential ruin and a clean up bill that could reach £1.25 million after conning them in to allowing him to use their yard – one of the three he used as a dump for a mountain of the refuse.
The 42-year-old trickster told the owner of Butlers Yard it would be used by a haulage company when he leased it at £3,000-a-month on behalf of Langley Skip Hire, Mr Nicholas Cole, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court. He made the move in September 2010, two months after inspectors checked the adjacent yard in Nelson Street where he and his father had piled 1,200 tons of waste roof high in such a dangerous way that it overflowed into the street, the lawyer continued.
Truck loads of it was soon being transferred by them to Butlers Yard which was also receiving freshly collected waste from up to 23 lorries a day, the court was told.
Langley Skip Hire, which was fined £100,000 yesterday, was being paid to dispose of the rubbish legally but was stockpiling so much of the waste that a third site at the Gupta Trading Area in West Bromwich Street, Oldbury – leased by Singh in November 2011 – also had to be used as a dump, explained Mr Cole.
Singh was not allowed to tip waste at either this address or Butlers Yard and had broken the rules of the permit allowing him to set up a waste transfer facility on the land he leased in Nelson Street, added the prosecutor.
That was granted in 2008 but was filled with far too much rubbish when inspectors called two years later.
Singh ignored their warnings and carried on regardless ignoring a string of officials from the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and Sandwell council planning department before all activity on that land was banned by a prohibition order in July 2011.
It has since cost £135,000 to clear the site, £82,000 to repair the damage caused by the rubbish mountain and £4,600 to clear the street. The Gupta Trading Area cost its owner £2,200 to clean up. Butlers Yard is still piled high with refuse and its owner could be prosecuted if it is not removed with the clean up bill expected to reach as much as £1.25 million, the court was told. Singh also owes £126,000 in rent on this site while the owner’s family have to pay £768-a-month to store their own vehicles elsewhere because they cannot get them on the rubbish strewn land.
Mr Paul Butler said in a victim impact statement: “It was meant to be the family pension fund but that plan is in ruins.”
Singh and his father, of Victoria Road, Oldbury, avoided fees of at least £223,000 they would have had to pay along with transport and sorting costs if the the rubbish had been properly disposed of at landfill sites as they had been paid to do. Meanwhile ‘unexplained’ deposits of £43,000 and £40,000 went into the bank accounts of the men, the court was told.
They will face a proceeds of crime case later in the year but Mr Cole concluded: “Whatever assets they have are unlikely to cover the full cost of removal. The owner of the land is stuck in a Catch 22 situation because it is worthless while covered in waste.”
Judge Martin Walsh told Singh as he jailed him yesterday: “You were charging customers for receipt of material and increased your profit by failing to process the waste legitimately. You deliberately breached and disregarded the law in search of profit with considerable affect on the environment and your offending continued even after you had been taken to task by the authorities.”
Singh, who pleaded guilty to seven offences involving illegal dumping and contravening an environmental permit, was also banned from becoming a company director for seven years, as was Reginald Baldwin, aged 71, of North Drive, Sutton Coldfield, who became a director of the firm after the sites had been filled with rubbish but did nothing to clear them.
He admitted one offence and was given a 26-week sentence suspended for two years with 200 hours’unpaid work.
Bagrhia, who admitted four offences, will not be dealt with until February 21 for medical reasons.