Forestry expert accused of dumping waste near Rye in Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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

A forestry expert is accused of dumping waste in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Rye.

Hove Crown Court today 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

He has now pleaded guilty and been sentenced. Click here to read the updated story

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

Saunders, from Wittersham in Kent, denies charges that he deposited controlled waste in privately owned woodland, and that he knowingly caused or permitted others to do the same. He has pleaded guilty to one charge that on April 7, 2015 he permitted controlled waste to be dumped at the site.

Gary Grant, prosecuting on behalf of Rother District Council, said: “Mr Saunders is charged with serious environmental crimes.

The stench from that hole actually caused officers to wretch

Prosecutor Gary Grant

“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.

“There is evidence suggesting Mr Saunders charged the people to either take away their waste and indeed charge associates of him to dump their own waste.”

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

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

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

Saunders does not own the land and had been entrusted by the landlord to carry out other, legitimate, works, the court heard.

Jurors were shown satellite images of the site, showing how it changed over that period. A picture from 2015 appears to show a large area of forest missing from the area.

Mr Grant continued: “The prosecution do not assert that nobody else other than Mr Saunders ever fly-tipped on the land.

“But during the period of intense regular observations officers carried out between December 2014 and April 2015 it became overwhelmingly clear that it was Mr Saunders who was the primary driving force behind the enormous quantities of waste that were dumped on the land.”

The court heard that large quantities of building waste and rubble, metal, plastics, reinforced concrete, teapots, rubber tyres from large vehicles, barbed wire, radiators, fridges, and microwave were found dumped at the site.

Mr Grant added that ‘extraordinarily worryingly’ there was also asbestos amongst the waste found at Barnet’s Hill.

He said: “In one trench that was later excavated by officers, around four feet down there was a black liquid sitting around the hole full of oil.

“The stench from that hole actually caused officers to wretch.”

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

The trial continues.

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