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Illegal fridge burners receive prison sentences

UK: Three men have been handed a total of 47 months in prison for the illegal depositing and disposal of waste, including refrigerators.  

Newcastle Crown Court heard that in November 2016 the owner of an industrial yard at Bentinck Road, Newcastle, was approached by the three men – Carl Foggo, Martin Jobes and Michael Graham – and agreed a sum of £700 to clear waste from the site. The court heard the waste mainly comprised refrigerator units and other kitchen equipment.

On November 29, 2016, Newcastle City Council officers on patrol in the West End of the city spotted thick, black plumes of smoke coming from the yard. On inspection, they saw Graham and Jobes burning waste with several of the fridges set alight.

The following day, officers returned and found Jobes and Foggo present and noted the yard was significantly cleaner. Following further enquiries, waste from the yard was discovered dumped at a disused carpark at Langham Road in the Scotswood area of the city. Another fridge and other waste from the yard was also found abandoned at Woodstock Road. 

Sentencing the trio on May 22, presiding Judge Sarah Mallett told the offenders: “The impact illegal waste has on the environment and the harm is causes is serious. It can also attract and then harm children and animals. 

“It is a growing problem nationally and it undermines legitimate businesses and the proper and safe disposal of hazardous materials.” 

According to the Newcastle Chronicle, the judge added: ”The burning of fridges causes the release of both CFCs and a form of cyanide gas, which could be classed as pollutant material or hazardous chemicals.”

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