A HUSBAND and wife have been sentenced for operating illegal waste sites following a successful prosecution by the Environment Agency.

Stuart Bedford, 62, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for running waste operations without the required environmental permit and keeping waste at those sites in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

His wife Vicky Bedford, 51, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) for her involvement.

The couple, who used to run Shambles Street-based Circle and Black in Barnsley town centre, owned another site on Spring Mill Street, Bradford, where over 600,000 tyres had been stored illegally against the Environment Agency’s rules.

A fire – in 2020 – caused serious travel disruption and led to the closure of local schools and businesses, while about 100 firefighters were required to control the blaze at its peak.

Mr and Mrs Bedford were arrested in Spain after international arrest warrants were issued for them and subsequently returned to the UK.

Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “Stuart Bedford, there is no doubt in my mind that you deliberately breached the law.

“You were experienced in the storage and disposal of tyres – you know from an early stage that the number of tyres you stored on the site was vastly more than you would have been legitimately able to store under an exemption issued for that site.

“As far as the fire itself is concerned, you were reckless in the standard meaning of that word.

“You went ahead and stored the tyres anyway regardless of the risk.

“You were being paid to take these tyres and valued the tyres at the Bradford site at £1m.”