Cambridgeshire illegal scrap merchant Tony Gray jailed

An illegal scrap metal merchant has been jailed for 27 months after pleading guilty to five offences at Norwich Crown Court.

Tony Gray, also known as Wade Levi Smith, admitted at an earlier hearing to running a site without a permit or licence near Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.

He also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, abstracting electricity illegally and money laundering.

The 56-year-old was given 27 months jail on each count to run concurrently.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 he was also ordered to pay £698,427.

Failure to pay would lead to a four-year prison sentence in default, he was told.

The yard at Wasoken in Norfolk, which contained offices and the house in which Gray lived, was raided on 30 June 2009 by officers from the Environment Agency, police and HM Revenue and Customs.

About 800 scrap vehicles were found piled up to eight high as well as stored pollutants.

Paid no tax

There was evidence of contamination from oil and batteries and many vehicles still contained hazardous fluids, the court was told.

Cash hoards of £122,000 were also found hidden in three places.

Gray said he had owned the Wisbech site for 18 years and ran a business called A47 Salvage buying cars and scrapping them.

He said he did not know he needed a licence to operate the site.

The court heard he had paid no tax on his income between 2003 and 2009.

He unlawfully took electricity to run the business between 2006 and 2009 and also converted about £17,000 of the proceeds through money laundering.

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