A man who allowed rubbish to be dumped in a rural conservation area leading to waste seeping into a tributary of the River Tay escaped a jail sentence at court on Monday.
Perth Sheriff Court heard how Alistair Roy, 41, kept adding to the 30 tonnes of white goods, asbestos sheeting and variety of building materials on the site in Blairgowrie.
Roy set up an illegal dump on an area covering 1,600 square metres and he burnt a lot of the waste, some of which was brought to him by companies who wanted to avoid paying for normal disposal.
The court had heard how the fencer stored the rubbish in piles, with some being dropped directly into the water course.
Depute fiscal Lisa Marshall had said: “A waste management license would never have been granted in this case. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said it looked like a landfill site.
“Waste was spread over 1,600 square metres – around the size of a quarter of a football pitch.”
The court had heard how some of the waste seeped into the Lunan Burn – a tributary of the River Tay — and also that the land on which the rubbish was dumped is a special area of conservation and a site of special scientific interest.
Mrs Marshall added: “The keeping of waste in this manner is wholly illegal. The accused also had arrangements with people to bring waste to the site.
“These businesses were avoiding legitimate disposal costs and that allowed them to undercut their rival operators.”
Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, said his client had allowed the rubbish to be dumped on the site and conceded he “should not” have set fire to it.
“My client had put a trailer across the entrance to the site but this had been moved and this allowed access for the rubbish to be dumped,” he commented.
Roy, of Marlee Mill, Blairgowrie, admitted that between April 17, 2015, and February 4, 2016, he illegally kept controlled waste at that address, including soil, stones, bricks, metal, cardboard, furniture, asbestos sheeting, electrical goods, clothing, Tarmac, grass and plasterboard.
He also admitted that between April 17, 2015, and May 6, 2015, he burnt waste illegally, deposited it on land at the same address and into a waterway.
Sentencing Roy, Sheriff William Wood told him he had reached the “custodial threshold” by allowing waste to be dumped on the site over a “protracted” time.
“However, I am minded to impose a community payback order as an alternative to custody,” he added.
Roy was ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work in the community.