The owner of a skip firm was told by a court chairman on Tuesday that his defiance of environmental rules was such that the sentencing powers of magistrates were considered insufficient.

“We believe it was deliberate,” he told 39-year-old Rhodri Roberts of Gwyn Waen, St Asaph, who pleaded guilty to failing to comply with requirements of an environmental permit. He was sent to Mold crown court for sentencing next month.

Magistrates at Llandudno were shown photographs of waste, mainly from skips, from householders and businesses to be sorted for recycling or disposal at Greens Industrial Estate, on The Roe at St Asaph.

Chairman David Davies said there had been “a significant risk of harm” not only to local businesses but involving the A55 itself.

Prosecuting for Natural Resources Wales, solicitor Dafydd Roberts said Roberts was the sole shareholder of a skip company. In September 2017 following several incident reports, environment officers became aware that the site was failing to comply with its permit due to excessive quantities of waste being stored. Piles were a mixture of construction, demolition waste, wood and household waste.

Roberts had stated that it was because he couldn’t find a suitable outlet for the wood which, as it piled up, made it difficult for machinery and wagons to gain access. “The officer reiterated that the site was unsafe and in his opinion a danger to those working at the site and that the waste needed to be removed,” explained the solicitor. In October 2017 an officer attended for the second time, accompanied by a North Wales Fire and Rescue officer due to worries about the possibility of the waste catching fire and the impact on surrounding people, business and infrastructure.

“There remained a large amount of waste at the site with little, if any, removed since the officer’s visit some ten days earlier.  In some areas the waste was buckling the fence adjacent to neighbouring businesses.”

The prosecutor described subsequent visits in which he continued to be storing excess waste. A deadline was fixed but in January last year the top of a neighbouring auction house could barely be seen. Waste had been piled five metres high which was higher than the perimeter fence and flush against fences which bordered neighbouring businesses. Denbighshire council said there was not planning permission for such a level of waste.

Interviewed under caution in February 2018 Roberts stated that City Skips were storing an excess of waste because they had tax arrears of about £40,000. Seventeen tonnes of wood waste had been removed, with 125 tonnes of household waste remaining.

Roberts promised to clear the site in three weeks, enforcement notices were issued and when an officer visited at the end of March last year the gates had been removed and the site was unsecured. Wood waste had been removed but there were large piles of other waste remaining, above the permitted amount.

It was alleged that when Roberts was told a suspension notice was being served he asked what would happen if he continued to bring waste and stated that he was going to be prosecuted anyway and needed the cash. The prosecution contended that this showed he had acted deliberately. Roberts had stated he didn’t have the money to clear the waste.

When an inspection was carried out in May, a new owner trading under a different company estimated it had cost £50,000 to bring it into compliance.

Yesterday Roberts described financial and cost problems which had beset him. He was not represented in court and the chairman urged him to seek legal assistance at the crown court. “It will probably be in your best interests,” he remarked.

A probation report was ordered.

The chairman told Roberts: "We have looked carefully at our sentencing policy and taken into consideration the report that various agencies have presented to us, including a report from the fire authority.”