HEFTY fines and costs have been handed to three men who flouted waste control regulations at sites in the Alston area.

Keith Liverick, 74, his son Paul Liverick, 51, and their friend Frank Shepherd, 76, all pleaded guilty to offences which involved them breaching strict environmental regulations designed to control waste disposal.

The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency.

At Carlisle’s Rickergate court, barrister Rosalind Emsley-Smith outlined the offences, which involved vast amounts of unsightly waste being stored – and at times burned – at four separate sites in the Alston area.

The first location was the former Clarghyll Colliery.

It was owned and operated by Keith Liverick, who was given planning permission to restore the land there in 2014. The conditions of that permission allowed him to bring only inert waste on to the site.

There was no permission to deposit, store, or treat mixed waste at the site.

The second site was behind Moredun Garage on Station Road, Alston, also owned by Keith Liverick. That site also had no permit for the depositing, storage, or treatment of mixed waste.

The third site was Old Foundry Yard, a metal recycling site operated by Paul Liverick – and again there was no permission for commercial, household, or industrial waste to be taken there, the court heard.

News and Star: Unsightly: Just some of the rubbish found at the Clarghyll site.Unsightly: Just some of the rubbish found at the Clarghyll site.

The final site involved was Rotherhope Mine, at Leadgate, Alston, owned by Shepherd. It too had no permit for waste storage, treatment, or disposal. Ms Emsley-Smith outlined how a protracted Environment Agency investigation revealed how waste was being stored illegally at all four sites at various times. 

At Clarghyll, in August 2018, investigators found:

·  Numerous old vehicles and old caravans.

·  General waste and six full skips of mixed household and construction waste.

·  100 tonnes of brick, rubble, stone and concrete (inert waste).

·  A skip full of burned metal waste - including an ironing board and metal mattress springs.

·  And timbers, plastics, cardboard, carpets, wooden window frames, plastic guttering, plastic pipe, black plastic bags as well as foundry waste, mouldings, castings, glass bottles, plumbing, metal, insulation materials and manure.

When inspectors returned to the site in October 2018, much of the waste was removed but some was still being stored there. This included old carvans and a dumper truck with a rowing machine in its tipper.

On the Moredun Garage site, in September 2018, officers found damaged fridges and freezers, old car batteries and dismantled caravans.

Another inspection, the following year, revealed evidence of waste burning, including  ten sets of heat-damaged mattress springs.

Officers saw a large 12-yard skip container was placed sideways across the road towards the lower part of the site, creating a physical barrier or screen to the upper level where the burning was taking place.

At the Rotherhope Mine site, in November 2018, investigators found tyres, rubble, plastic buckets, piping, and packaging, old roofing materials timber and concrete, textiles, carpet rolls, furniture, doors, metal paint tins and at least two microwaves, a TV set and a vacuum cleaner.

News and Star: Illegal: A pile of rubbish - one of many found at the Clarghyll site in Alston.Illegal: A pile of rubbish - one of many found at the Clarghyll site in Alston.

Shepherd told officials he was working away and gave Paul Liverick permission to deposit skips at the site because he needed to clean up his scrap yard site due to Environment Agency involvement.

Keith Liverick admitted two offences, Paul Shepherd admitted three breaches of permit regulations, and Shepherd admitted two offences.

Craig Burman, for Keith Liverick, of Station Road, Alston, said he had simply not kept pace with modern environmental regulations.

“He was reckless but it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to offend,” said the lawyer.

For Paul Liverick, Mr Burman said he had gained “no substantial financial benefit” from his offending. The lawyer put this defendant’s actions down to poor management and business practices.

Chris Toms, for Shepherd, said his client’s offending related to only the Rotherhope Mine site. “He was just helping an old friend,” said Mr Toms. “He made no money out of this.”

Keith Liverick, of Station Road, Alston, was fined £1,980, with £1,350 costs and a £190 victim surcharge.

Paul Liverick – said to have been guilty of deliberate offending – was fined £2,566, with £2,200 costs and a £190 victim surcharge.

Shepherd, of Leadgate, Alston, was fined £666, with £1,133 costs and a £67 victim surcharge.