TWO men from Yate have been given suspended prison sentences and must pay more than £10,000 in total for their involvement in a huge fly tipping operation.

Tom Pleass, aged 29, of Cherington in Yate and David Hemmings, aged 51, of Hatherley in Yate were prosecuted by South Gloucestershire Council’s environmental enforcement team and the Environment Agency following a string of waste offences dating back to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These included fly-tipping, disposing of waste illegally and operating an illegal waste site where vast amounts of accumulated waste were set on fire.

Sentencing took place at Bristol Magistrates Court with Pleass appearing in court on Monday, October 30 and Hemmings on Wednesday, October 18.
During an interview by council officers Pleass revealed that he had collected residents' waste at least 200 times during this time period and could not produce any Waste Transfer Notes for the collections or for lawfully disposing of it at a Waste Transfer Station.

He also admitted fly-tipping waste at two separate locations in fields where it was subsequently burnt, and one of those locations was Riverdale Farm in Old Sodbury.
Pleass had also registered his tipper truck with SGC to enable him to use it at the area’s Sort It recycling centres. 
Pleass pleaded guilty to one charge of being responsible for seven fly-tips between March 2020 and December 2021, two charges of unlawful disposal of waste (by burning waste) at two different locations and one charge of having No Waste Transfer Notes for the period of March 2020 and December 2021.

He was sentenced to a total of 36 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, ordered to pay a £149 victim surcharge plus £1,000 in costs.

Pleass must also attend a six-month drugs rehabilitation programme and a mental health support programme.
A Criminal Behaviour Order was also imposed for five years prohibiting Pleass from entering any SGC Sort It recycling centre, being involved in the storing, transferring, treating or disposing of waste except as part of the refuse collection process of his own household waste, and being involved in any bonfires except for a small bonfire at his own property.
The owner of Riverdale Farm in Old Sodbury, David Hemmings, also pleaded guilty to various environmental offences including running an illegal waste site and burning waste at the farm. 

Hemmings was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay a £154 victim surcharge plus £9,050 in costs.
A five-year Community Behaviour Order was also imposed on Hemmings, banning him from having further bonfires at the site, except for burning green waste originating there.

He was also prohibited from depositing any waste onto the farm originating from him or a third party and ordered to return the site to its previous state. 

Hemmings must also take part in a seven-day rehabilitation activity.
Cllr Leigh Ingham, cabinet member responsible for environmental enforcement at SGC, said: “When it comes to waste offences, we are absolutely determined to bring offenders to court.

"When the rest of us strive to recycle everything we can and dispose of our rubbish responsibly, dumping and burning this much waste is completely unacceptable.”