Man jailed for running illegal North Runcton waste site

The site in North Runcton where Mark Fuller operated an illegal waste facility
The site in North Runcton where Mark Fuller operated an illegal waste facility

A man who stockpiled thousands of tonnes of waste on an illegal treatment site in North Runcton has been jailed for 15 months.

Environment and planning officials said the case against Mark Fuller had stretched them “to the limit” after he was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court this afternoon.

And they have vowed to crack down on similar operations in rural locations.

Fuller, 50, of Common Lane, North Runcton, had previously pleaded guilty to one charge of operating a waste facility without a permit and two counts of breaching enforcement notices.

The case dates back to September 2010, when Norfolk County Council served an enforcement notice on Fuller.

The order was intended to stop him from taking waste onto the land at Manor Farm and processing it.

However, despite the rejection of an appeal and a further legal challenge to the High Court, Fuller continued to operate the site illegally.

During a further visit to the site in November 2012, staff from the county council and Environment Agency found thousands of tonnes of waste wood, along with waste soil and construction material.

However, Fuller claimed he had not received any correspondence from the agency and believed he had been operating legally.

Following the hearing, Phil Henderson, of the Environment Agency, said: “The operation of illegal waste sites pose significant risk to our environment and local communities, particularly where this involves the wholesale stockpiling of waste, as in this case.

“This sentence reflects the seriousness with which the Environment Agency, our partners and the courts view this type of criminal offending and we will seek to prosecute those involved wherever possible.

“Operators need to ensure that they obtain the appropriate permission to operate waste sites and comply with the conditions of their permit.”

Mike Adams, of Norfolk County Council, added: “This is a case that has stretched the powers of planning enforcement to the limit.

“The defendant refused to engage with the planning system; appeals, including High Court challenges with very little merit were designed to frustrate the enforcement procedure and have lengthened and increased the cost of this process. 

“We are determined that this type of activity will not be allowed to continue in such a sensitive location.”