Cowboy roofer fly-tipped asbestos in residential Preston street
Deadly asbestos containing rubbish was dumped around a Preston neighbourhood in black bin bags, a court case has revealed.
The alarming revelation came as roofer James Young, 52, pleaded guilty to a charge of depositing controlled waste without a permit.
Dangerous waste rubbish from his business was driven by van to a block of flats at Havelock Court, Plungington Road, Preston, before being dumped in various nearby areas, including in a car park, communal rubbish bins behind the flats and bushes - and even by staircases to residents’ flats.
Residents and local businesses today reacted with shock.
Dion Jones, assistant manager of the Spar store on Plungington Road, which backs onto the area, said: “Flytipping boils my blood as it is, but the fact it is asbestos is worse.
“There is a little green area right next to these bins where local children play. Children in the area don’t have much as it is so the fact this has happened right next to the area is awful.
“Our staff are fortunate because we have our own private bins and are unlikely to have been exposed to it.”
The Davies Pharmacy is also close by.
Pharmacist Hanif Umar said: “It shouldn’t be happening.
“As pharmacists we deal with all kinds of hazardous waste - we dispose of needles - and we have to do it responsibly.
“Asbestos is a killer and its effects on people are serious.”
Prosecuting for Preston City Council, Jorge Carrera said: “Mr Young is the owner of a roofing business, and in the course of that business he had to dispose of a large amount of roofing material containing asbestos.
“The prosecution’s case is that he contacted a local resident and made arrangements to deliver the waste to that address.
“On June 11, CCTV evidence showed a vehicle at the resident’s premises loaded with bags of what is roofing material broken up.
“The defendant, together with two employees and a local resident of one of the flats, removed 30 bags and they were taken inside the resident’s flat, and another estimated 20 bags of broken materials containing asbestos were left outside the premises.”
The court heard Young, a father-of-eight, of Railway Road, Darwen, was seen going to a nearby ATM and then later on meeting the ‘resident’, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Material from the bags that were left outside was submitted for analysis which confirmed the materials contained white asbestos.
Mr Carrera added: “By breaking down that material it made fibrous asbestos loose and was a risk to the health of Mr Young, those who unloaded the bags, and also to the local residents.
An investigating officer discovered those bags were later disposed around the area.
“The waste was later found in communal bins around the car park and behind hedges in the nearby streets and that put the larger community at risk.”
In a council interview Young admitted he was the owner of the vehicle seen by investigators, that the waste originated from work he had undertaken in Leyland, but he denied he was the driver of the van despite being reminded about the striking similarity of the CCTV and him.
“He also denied being involved in the actual delivery of the waste to that address.”
Enquiries revealed Young had never had the necessary licence to transport controlled waste, which costs £175.
Mr Carrera added: “Mr Young decided to do it in an unlawful manner instead.
“There is a wider impact to the community in the location of the offence.”
Young’s defence solicitor said he usually recruited a skip company to dispose of waste, but on this occasion had contacted a Preston resident to dispose of it.
He added: “He believed, wrongly, the waste was going to be disposed of properly. Instead, what the man does once the delivery has left is proceed to dump the rubbish all over the local area.”
He said Young ought to have carried out certain checks and made sure the person he transferred the waste to had an appropriate licence.
He added his client had previously had a heart attack and “is on brink of another one” as a result of the case.
Young was ordered to pay compensation of £1,000 to the council, as well as an £803 fine, an £80 victim surcharge, and £717 costs.
The area in Havelock Court in Preston where the asbestos was dumped
Preston City Council said robust measures were in place to protect public safety.
A council spokesman said: “While we cannot comment specifically on this case, we would like to reassure Preston residents that this type of incident is dealt with swiftly and safely.
“Asbestos debris is the most serious level of flytipping we come across. It poses a very high level health risk from the dust and fibres to anyone breathing it in.
“If you want to remove a structure that has or could contain asbestos, please contact the council as we can offer advice.
“There are specialist contractors who can safely remove and dispose of asbestos in the appropriate manner for you.”