Career Waste Criminal Sentenced to 18 Months Imprisonment

A 68-year-old man from Corby has been jailed for repeated waste offences spanning over a decade. Stephen Lack, of Monkton Sidings, Corby, ran an illegal waste site which posed a risk to human health and the environment.

Lack, operating under the trading name Abbey Skips, repeatedly stored piles of waste on a site at Monkton Sidings, Fineshade, without the required permits. On 14 October 2020, Northampton Crown Court heard how Lack repeatedly ignored advice and warnings given by the Environment Agency that his conduct was illegal and unsafe.

The prosecution argued his activities could potentially contaminate nearby woodland and farmland, lead to odours and toxic smoke, and could attract large swarms of flies and other vermin. It was alleged Lack had saved thousands of pounds by burning and burying waste rather than disposing of it legally.

On 14 October 2020, Stephen Lack pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 12 and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 by depositing, treating and storing of waste other than was allowed by the conditions of his permit.
Her Honour Judge Lucking QC, sitting at Northampton Crown Court on 25 January 2021, sentenced Lack to 18 months’ immediate imprisonment after he had pleaded guilty at the hearing held on 14 October 2020.

Decades of Offending

In 2009, Lack did have a permit for the waste site, but only a year later he was in court for illegally burning waste. Although he was ordered to pay thousands in fines and costs, he continued offending. The permit was revoked in 2011 and Lack was ordered to clear the site by next Spring. When officers visited the site in March 2012, the site appeared to be managed in a compliant manner. However, 5 years later the public began complaining about the site and Environment Agency officers responded by visiting the site and discovered waste was being stored and burnt.

Once again, Lack was advised to stop the activities but shortly after the warnings EA officers discovered he was also storing 1,000 tonnes of waste at a different site at Easton on the Hill. In April 2019, Lack pleaded guilty to several charges relating to his activities and was given a 6 month sentence, suspended for 2 years.

EA officers were shocked when, not even a month after his sentencing they discovered he was carrying out more illegal burning. Following this discovery, he was arrested and released on bail, but warned by the court he would be remanded in custody if they found he was involved in any activity associated with waste.

Last summer, during lockdown, officers attended Monkton Sidings site in July and August and watched numerous skips arrive full of tyres, metal, and other waste, and caught Lack operating the machinery. He was arrested again in September after there was further evidence of burning and burial of waste.

Judge Lucking ordered Lack clean up the site within the next 12 months and adjourned the consideration of a claim for more than £30,000 Environment Agency costs until March 2021.