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Fridge burning farmer receives suspended sentence

UK: A Norfolk farmer received a suspended 12-month prison sentence for operating an unpermitted waste site and burning fridges and freezers.

Brian Rutterford, 71, admitted operating an unpermitted site at his farm in Hockwold-cum-Wilton, illegally depositing and burning waste at that site. 

King’s Lynn magistrates sentenced Rutterford to 12 months prison, suspended for a period of 2 years on condition that he remains of good behaviour. He was also ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge totalling £18,051.50.

He is said to have allowed other people to take waste to his farm to burn and told his employees to bring waste from his own rental properties to burn there.

The court was told that when Environment Agency officers visited the site in November 2017, they found a fire burning with about five skip loads of waste. He was told to stop burning waste and to clear the site within 90 days.

When officers returned to carry out further inspections, they found that more waste had been deposited including partially burned and rotting animal carcasses and fridges and freezers.

After the hearing Environment Agency environment officer Naomi Daniel said: “Burning waste saved the cost of legal disposal and put the environment at real risk. Burning fridges and freezers releases climate-changing chemicals and pollutes the atmosphere.”

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