County Durham skip hire businessman ordered to pay back nearly £1 million

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

A skip hire boss has been ordered to pay back cash after he was found to have profited from illegal waste crime by almost £1 million, according to the Environment Agency.

Raymond Shepherd of Rookhope in County Durham could have to pay back £980,207 under the Proceeds of Crime Act – the agreed sum of his criminal activities – if he comes into future assets.

It’s a debt for life for the 61-year-old who ran Albert Hill Skip Hire in Darlington and was jailed for 18 months when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court for sentence on December 12, 2013. He was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Shepherd was convicted following two separate trials of operating a waste facility without a permit, depositing waste without a permit and failing to comply with a suspension notice.

Environment Agency officers then began proceedings to make him pay back a sum of money which the Agency said reflected the gain from his criminal activities.

Image shows waste on site at Dodsworth Street

On Thursday 23 February, following a four-day confiscation hearing at Teesside Crown Court under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Shepherd was given a confiscation order to pay back £14,000 of available assets.

According to the Environment Agency, he could face up to six months in prison if he fails to pay and if he comes into future assets he is expected to have to pay back more of the near £1million agreed benefit sum.

Shepherd contested the application arguing that the activities at the sites were carried out lawfully.

The result comes on the back of an investigation by the Environment Agency, called Operation Bachelor which started in 2008. It has also resulted in two other men receiving suspended prison sentences and Albert Hill Skip Hire Ltd being fined £100,000.

A previous Proceeds of Crime hearing in August 2015 in relation to the same investigation saw Shepherd’s son, Tony Shepherd, 41, of Winston, Darlington, ordered to pay back £350,000.

He was subsequently jailed for three years in May 2016 for failing to pay the sum. The Environment Agency said he still has to pay back the money, and potentially up to £1.2 million if he comes into future assets.

The jurors at Raymond Shepherd’s trials heard how the company’s premises at Dodsworth Street were full with illegally-held waste.

Between July 2008 and May 2010 Shepherd and his company, Albert Hill Skip Hire Ltd, operated an illegal waste transfer station at Whessoe Road in Darlington.

He did the same at Dodsworth Street from July 2008 until the site got a permit in April 2009, but by November 2009 the first enforcement notice had been served on the company requiring that he operate legally within the terms of his notice.

In 2010 enforcement notices were served, in 2011 a suspension notice was served and in 2012 the permit was revoked. Investigations found the company had been depositing and storing waste on an access road, and cement-bound asbestos was also found on the site.

Following conviction, the waste carrier’s registration was revoked. The site is now reported to be clear of all waste.

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