Tyre dump blaze bosses admit breaking the law

Mexborough tyre fire.
Mexborough tyre fire.

THE bosses of an illegal tyre dump which became a toxic inferno after an arson attack have admitted breaking numerous environmental laws.

Scores of residents living near to the Tyre Trade UK Ltd base had to be evacuated from their homes when more than 100,000 worn out tyres went up in flames, causing fumes to choke the area for days after.

The company’s two directors, Jane Ann Hopkins and David Squire, pleaded guilty this week to a string of charges for breaching Environmental Health regulations.

Both admitted four counts of operating the facility without an Environmental Permit between April 2008 and August 2009, and a separate charge of keeping tyres “in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm human health” between February 2009 and June 2010.

Squire also pleaded guilty to a lone charge of failing to comply with an Environmental Protection Notice in August 2009.

Squire, 31, of Cecil Avenue, Warmsworth, and Hopkins, 44, of Ewood Drive, Cantley, will be sentenced in December after further court reports are completed.

Judge Rosalind Coe, sitting at Sheffield Crown Court warned them: “I am not giving you any indication on what the sentence may be.”

In addition, the court heard the pair had previously been given a conditional discharge in January 2009 for storing tyres at another facility in Doncaster.

The blaze started at the site in Whitlea Grove, Mexborough, in the early hours of the morning last June. Fire crews spent several days at the scene.

Following the hearing, Ian Cowie, of the Environment Agency, said: “This case shows exactly the reason why sites like this should have environmental permits.

“A tyre fire last year caused massive inconvenience to the community when 72 households were evacuated, as well as being a huge drain on the public purse from the point of view of fire service and council costs to deal with the incident.

“This case is a prime example of the cost to everyone of people and companies breaking environmental laws.

“The Environment Agency has teams dedicated to catching and bringing to justice people and companies which put our environment at risk.”

It was also revealed this week that the site has now finally been cleared of the mountain of burned tyres.

Labour councillors Sue Phillips and David Holland praised the Environment Agency for taking action.

Coun Holland said: “The site owner promised to clear the site months ago but nothing was happening so Sue Phillips and I insisted that the Environment Agency take enforcement action.

“This seems to have done the trick.”

Coun Phillips added: “The news will come as a great relief to the residents of the area who have been living with this nightmare since the fire over a year ago.”