A “stubborn” and “pig-headed” man who ignored repeated orders to stop dumping building waste on land around his farm in Bingley has been slapped with court costs of £11,000.

Robert Deacon was also given two months to clear the site at Old Wood Farm in High Eldwick or face contempt of court proceedings.

Bradford Crown Court heard how Deacon, 63, saw himself as “the little man against the Environment Agency” during a series of inspections by the agency and Bradford Council over the use of his farm as an illegal waste disposal facility.

Prosecutor Ben Thomas said Deacon ran his Abacus Skip Hire business for three-and-a-half years from August 2019 to April this year accepting household, construction and demolition waste and operating not in compliance with the law.

During numerous visits by the Environment Agency Deacon was told he needed a permit to operate and that not having one would leave him liable to prosecution.

The case was heard at Bradford Crown Court The case was heard at Bradford Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

For the three-month period between September to December 2019, Deacon received £16,493 from customers for the collection of waste and paid out £3,462 for disposal.

Over the next three years, there were several more inspections with up to 23 skips seen on site containing various types of waste as well as building material and a 2m-high pile of rubble dumped on the ground.

Some of the waste was next to a bridleway.

During a visit in September 2020, Deacon said he had applied for a permit but had not paid the fees.

Deacon said he was 'the little man against the Environment Agency' 

Mr Thomas said: “He described himself as the little man against the Environment Agency.

“[There were] numerous full skips of waste on the access track, several further skips on the field beside the house. He confirmed this was the overflow area.

“[There were] further deposits of waste at the bottom of the field … including green waste, bricks, soil and concrete.”

Interviewed in May 2021 Deacon said that as a small business, it shouldn’t have to obtain a permit “and the state should not be able to tell him how to run his business".

Deacon was served with a summons in February this year after previously receiving stop notices whilst under investigation. He admitted he was continuing to operate his skip business.

By June this year, he told officers that he was selling his skips and skip wagons as he had started a new business as a kitchen fitter.

Judge's sentencing remarks 

Sentencing Deacon, Mr Recorder Andrew Dallas said: “You were either reckless or deliberate in continuing to operate despite warnings [and] letters.

“Presumably you wanted to do it because you were making profits out of it.

“You are clearly somebody who reacts negatively to authority.

“You are stubborn. You will not take hints, you will not take orders, you will not take anything to deflect you from continuing to do what you thought you should be able to do in a way which saved you from having to spend a lot of money in in compliance.

“People do not expect to have unlicensed illegal operations going on in their countryside.

“You have really just cocked a snook at [the] authorities for years.”

He handed Deacon a one-year community order with a requirement to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and to pay costs of £11,000.

He also made a remediation order requiring the site to be cleared of controlled waste by midnight on September 8.

He added: “The Environment Agency have prosecuted you as an absolute last resort. They gave you chance after chance … and you failed to take it.

“You have been brought here simply because you were too pig-headed to accept the reality of the situation: that you have to comply with the law just like every other citizen.”