The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

Bradford Fire Site Owner Jailed

Almost four years after the Bradford tyre fire at a disused kart track, the owner has been sentenced to a year in jail

The Court heard how Stuart Bedford had ignored warnings from the Environment Agency and had collected an estimated 1 million tyres on the site, with an estimated “value” of around £1M. (Which begs the question, given the level of waste tyre exports to India, why Bedford simply did not sell on the tyres and get them off his sites)

Between May and July of 2020, Bedford received visits, phone calls, and official letters – including a formal stop notice – warning him that there were more tyres on the site than he was allowed to have.

The court also heard that Bedford was running a second site at Wright Business Park in Doncaster, which was still receiving tyres three days after the Bradford site caught fire and eventually had more than 208,000 tyres inside a unit with a further 42,000 tyres outside.

The fire, which started on the 16th November 2020, took until the 5th December to extinguish.

Bedford, 62, of Harrogate, was jailed at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday after admitting operating an unauthorised regulated facility and keeping controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution and harm to human health.

Joseph Millington, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that Bedford was the “controlling mind” behind the site, despite his wife, Vicky, being director of the company running the property.

Vicky Bedford, 51, of Ripon, was described as a “straw director” but accepted she held some responsibility.

She received a 12-month community order after admitting the same charges.

Millington added; “Mr Bedford could be in no doubt of not only the illegality of his actions but the concerns the authorities had about him.”

Fire services were deployed to the site from 16 November until 5 December, costing £1,135,000, according to the prosecution.

Upon passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Gibson told him: “There is no doubt in my mind that you deliberately broke the law.

“You knew from an early stage that the number of tyres that you stored in either of the sites was vastly more than any exemption certificate would have had for either of those sites.”

He added: “You were reckless in the true meaning of the word.”