A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a man found guilty of waste offences on a Cotswolds farm after he didn't show up to court.

David Lee, also known as David Ham, 46, was living at North Four Shires Stone Farm on the London Road in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.

He failed to show up to court and was found guilty of three counts of waste crime at Oxford magistrates’ court earlier this month (March 13).

The court heard that Lee had been living in a caravan on a farm near Moreton-in-Marsh where he was operating a commercial skip business.

On the farm he was depositing skips full of waste, sorting, storing and burning waste and removing waste for onward disposal.

On a few occasions, the fire service had to attend fires as the waste was burnt.

South West Farmer: On more than one occasion the fire service had to attend fires on the farmOn more than one occasion the fire service had to attend fires on the farm (Image: EA)

He had no environmental permit for any of these activities, and the farm is within a mile of two designated nature conservation areas - less than a mile from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and less than half a mile from the Site of Special Scientific Interest at Wolford Wood.

Environment Agency (EA) officers visited the site in May 2021 after having received reports of the burning of waste and to check compliance with permit exemptions that had recently been registered.

Here they found vehicles and machinery consistent with the running of a skip hire business - several empty and full skips and piles of mixed waste, including household, construction and demolition waste, furniture, metal, wood and soil.

South West Farmer: Lee was operating a skip business from the farmLee was operating a skip business from the farm (Image: EA)

They also saw two piles of waste still smouldering from recent fires.

Lee was told on multiple occasions that all waste activity must stop immediately and that the site should be cleared. 

EA officers made further visits to check on progress, and it became apparent that the defendant was continuing to operate an unpermitted waste transfer site.

Burning of waste also continued - which on more than one occasion resulted in the fire service attending.

South West Farmer: A warrant is out for Lee's arrestA warrant is out for Lee's arrest (Image: EA)

In November 2021, the EA served a notice compelling Lee to clear the waste from the site - but he did not comply and his activity continued.

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With all other avenues exhausted, the EA took Lee to court, resulting in last week’s conviction.

There is now a warrant out for Lee’s arrest with no bail.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "We are pleased to secure this conviction for running an illegal unpermitted waste operation. Waste crime can have a serious environmental impact which puts communities at risk, and undermines legitimate businesses."