Halesowen businessman gets the clink for Christmas over Breirley Hill rubbish dump

THE HALESOWEN boss of a Brierley Hill waste firm will spend Christmas behind bars after being sentenced to six months in prison for failing to clear a mammoth pile of rubbish.

Robert McNaughton, director of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), was sentenced yesterday (Monday, December 23) after failing to comply with a High Court order to clear a mountain of waste at the Moor Street site which at its peak stood at 40-feet.

Mr McNaughton tried to unsuccessfully takeover Halesowen Town FC in 2009 after being one of creditors owed money by the Morrell Maison chairmanship.

The punishment was originally meted out in June, but the sentence was suspended until today to give Mr McNaughton one last chance to take action and clear the site which residents have long branded an eyesore.

However, after missing the final September 10 deadline and failing to fulfil his legal obligations he was found in contempt of court.

The judge, Mr Justice MacDuff, said there had been repeated and flagrant breaches of court orders by Mr McNaughton as he activated the suspended jail sentence.

David Hudson, environment manager for the Environment Agency, said after today’s hearing: “In handing Mr McNaughton a custodial sentence, the court has recognised the seriousness of not complying with environmental legislation and court orders.

“We know residents are frustrated and we appreciate their ongoing support. Our priority has always been to get the site cleared, and we think those responsible should still be made to pay. We will continue to work to make this happen.”

Ads by Google The judge also gave the Environment Agency permission to apply for an order to seize the defendant’s assets to comply with a court order to remove the waste.

Ahead of today's sentencing the Agency had already revoked RDF's permit to operate and it also issued a further order stating the site must be be cleared of all remaining waste by February 17 2014.

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