Pembrokeshire scrap metal firm 'ignored warnings'

image copyrightNatural Resources Wales
image captionNatural Resources Wales had issued repeated warnings to the scrap metal business

A family from Pembrokeshire who illegally operated a scrap metal business have been ordered to carry out unpaid work in the community.

George Jones, 57, his partner, Jenny Frearson, 46, and son Nenning Jones, 34, earned more than £1m from the business, Swansea Crown Court heard.

They pleaded guilty to a number of environmental offences, including operating without a permit.

They had ignored repeated warnings about the site's safety.

Illegal storage

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) had also raised concerns about the scale of the site, which was based at Carew Airfield.

Pollution from the site could have got into the county's drinking water, the court was also told.

The defendants carried on operating despite effectively being told to close the gates and not take in any more scrap.

An investigation was launched by NRW between June 2011 and May 2012 into the running of the business and the illegal storage of scrap metal and other waste.

It found issues with drainage and materials such as tyres, batteries, old cars and oil drums being stored in the wrong areas.

image captionThe court heard the site could have polluted an underground water source

Judge Paul Thomas QC told the family: "The regulations are there not because someone wants to be picky, but for the protection of the environment and people living in the area."

The court heard there had been a risk that pollution from the site could have got into a nearby underground water source that is used in Pembrokeshire as a reserve in the event of a drought.

"In this case, there was a degree of brinkmanship and a generally cavalier attitude," Judge Thomas added.

He gave the family members community supervision orders:

  • George Jones, who has a previous conviction for a similar offence, was made the subject of a two year community supervision order and will have to carry out 260 hours unpaid work.
  • Nenning Jones was given a 12 month community supervision order and will have to carry out 160 hours unpaid work.
  • Jenny Frearson was given a 12 month community supervision order and will have to carry out 50 hours unpaid work.

A scrapyard business is still operating at the site, but it is now complying with regulations.

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