Forestry expert accused of dumping ‘controlled waste’ near Rye pleads guilty

Satellite images were shown to the jury showing how the area had changed over the period in question. Pictures: Rother District Council/Google SUS-180110-183330001
Satellite images were shown to the jury showing how the area had changed over the period in question. Pictures: Rother District Council/Google SUS-180110-183330001

The trial of a forestry expert who was accused of dumping waste in woodland near Rye has ended after he pleaded guilty part-way through.

Hove Crown Court heard how Timothy Saunders, 44, and others dumped items such as refrigerators, large rubber tyres, barbed wire and asbestos in pits dug at Barnet’s Hill, Peasmarsh.

A satellite images taken in 2008, which was shown to the jury

A satellite images taken in 2008, which was shown to the jury

Officers investigating one pit found a ‘black liquid’ four feet down that caused them to wretch, the jury heard.

Saunders, from Wittersham in Kent, today pleaded guilty to three charges and was sentenced.

He admitted that he: deposited controlled waste in privately owned woodland, that he knowingly caused or permitted others to do the same and treating, keeping or disposing of controlled waste, the court confirmed this afternoon.

He had already pleaded guilty to one charge that on April 7, 2015 he permitted controlled waste to be dumped at the site.

A satellite image taken in 2015, which was shown to the jury

A satellite image taken in 2015, which was shown to the jury

Opening the case on Monday, Gary Grant, prosecuting on behalf of Rother District Council, said: “Mr Saunders is charged with serious environmental crimes. The disposal of waste is big business. But for land to be legitimately used for depositing waste strict controls must be complied with. Mr Saunders had no lawful permission or authorisation to allow this waste to be dumped.”

The offending is alleged to have taken place over several years between 2009 and 2015.

The place where the waste was dumped is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The prosecution said that others as well as Mr Saunders may have fly-tipped at the site.

He told the jury that Saunders was ‘not naive’ and knew what he was doing.

Saunders was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in prosecution costs.