A farmer who was hit with a £156,000 confiscation order after he admitted allowing the illegal depositing of waste on one of his fields has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that he did not ‘benefit’ from crime although his intention was to improve his land.
The farmer had the order made against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 after he pleaded guilty to depositing controlled waste on land without a licence and allowing a waste management operation without an environmental permit. However, he insisted that he had taken no money from those who deposited the construction waste which he had hoped would ‘recover’ his field for agricultural purposes.
In dismissing his appeal against the order, the Court of Appeal ruled: “The fact that he intended the exercise to be a ‘recovery’ operation, rather than a ‘deposit’ one, cannot turn what was undoubtedly an unlawful operation into a lawful one. By engaging in this unlawful activity, he has evaded a liability to which he was personally subject, the payment of landfill taxes and licence fees.”
The farmer had the necessary permissions to bring waste onto other parts of his farm, but not the field in question, and the Court concluded: “There is no doubt that he did not pay any of the fees, taxes or costs identified and agreed by the experts …he therefore evaded liabilities for which, if he had acted lawfully, he would have been personally responsible.”