A JAILED pensioner whose overflowing rubbish dump spewed pollution into the air when it went up in smoke has failed in a bid for freedom.
Roy Hinchcliffe’s company, Forge Plant Limited, dumped more than double the permitted amount of waste at his company’s tip in Ravensthorpe before a huge blaze at the site cost firemen £850,000 to put out.
Hinchcliffe, 71, of Greenside Road, Mirfield, was jailed for two years at Leeds Crown Court in March after he admitted breaching environmental regulations.
And yesterday, two top judges at London’s Court of Appeal refused him an early release from prison branding his disregard for the rules “prolonged and cynical”.
Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, sitting with Mr Justice Griffith Williams, told the court the charges related to sites at Scout Hill and Forge Lane, Dewsbury, and Heeley Road, Ossett.
Hinchcliffe’s company had a permit to store 700 tonnes of waste at the Scout Hill site.
But checks by inspectors revealed he and his staff had crammed at least twice that much into the area in 2009, the judge said.
The piles of waste, deemed “too high to measure” by the Environment Agency, overflowed onto the banks of the River Calder and went up in flames in February 2010.
The company was also dumping waste at the Forge Lane and Heeley Road sites, the latter of which also suffered a fire, the court heard.
Environment Agency officers repeatedly contacted Hinchcliffe, telling him to get the tips in order but, despite his company’s estimated £1m revenue, too little was done, the judge said.
Lawyers for Hinchcliffe argued his prison sentence was “manifestly excessive” considering his advancing years and acceptance of his wrongdoing.
Rejecting the appeal, Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart ruled: “We are in no doubt at all that this was clearly a case calling for immediate custody.
“There was a sustained and flagrant disregard of the regulations designed to protect the environment.
“The appellant made no effort whatsoever to comply with the terms of his permit.
“It is an inescapable conclusion that he thought the risk of sanctions was outweighed by the advantages of continuing to operate in breach of the law.
“His conduct required a sentence which was more than just nominal.”
Hinchcliffe’s director son Neil, 50, of West Vale, Dewsbury, was given a 16-month sentence after admitting two offences of operating a site without a permit and failing to provide waste transfer notes.
Senior environmental crime officer for the Environment Agency, Paul Salter, said at the trial: “This pair consistently ignored advice and enforcement action from the Environment Agency and despite regular inspections there was no attempt to decrease the waste at these sites.”
Fire crews finally put out the blaze on the huge waste tip more than a month after it started.
Crews from across West Yorkshire were at the scene every day trying to put out the smouldering blaze in hundreds of tonnes of rubbish.