A Bradford man convicted of illegally dumping asbestos and excavation waste has had his assets frozen in the first case of its kind.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), working with the Environment Agency (EA), obtained restraint orders to freeze properties belonging to William John Peter Reidy, 60, of Bolton Old Hall, Cheltenham Road, Bradford.

The prosecution against Mr Reidy was brought by the EA following the illegal activities of his demolition business Space Making Development.

In spite of not holding a waste management licence, the firm was paid to take building waste away from companies across Yorkshire.

Officers carried out surveillance on the site and estimated that a total of 200 lorry loads of waste had been illegally dumped. A skip containing asbestos sheeting was also discovered, for which the business did not hold a licence.

Mr Reidy was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment of each of four charges relating to the keeping and depositing of waste, including asbestos.

The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, as were further sentences of three months for each of nine further waste charges.

The ARA is investigating whether the defendants benefited from their illegal activities and will seek to recover assets equal to a value of any benefit established.

ARA interim director Alan McQuillan said: "We are determined to recover the proceeds from all types of illegal activity, including illegal dumping and fly-tipping which, as well as damaging the environment, poses a risk to human health.

"This restraint order will prevent the disposal of the assets belonging to Mr Reidy while we continue with our investigation to establish the full scale of the benefit obtained from this criminal conduct, thus assisting the court to make any appropriate confiscation orders.

"The restraint and any confiscation of assets sends a clear message to others involved in illegal activities that we are dedicated to recover the proceeds of illegal activities and that crime does not pay."

Paul Salter, environmental crime officer at the EA, said: "This is the first time that assets have been seized in a case like this and shows that businesses cannot get away with putting profits before the environment and human health - as this case shows.

"If you are an offender, we will track you down and take you to court. We can then refer the case to the Assets Recovery Agency which will endeavour to confiscate any monies and assets made from these ill-gottengains.

"Demolition contractors must take their responsibilities seriously as people will not put up with them blighting our towns and countryside."