A FATHER and son who dumped six 'Olympic swimming pool size' loads of waste at a Lancashire business park have received suspended prison terms.

Fragmentised rubber, plastics, metal, and foam were all left on land near Farington Business Park, near Leyland, between August 2015 and February 2015, Preston Crown Court heard.

An investigation by the Environment Agency put the blame for the waste, which appeared to have been generated by the motor industry, on William Wheale, 62, from Withnell, and his son Benjamin, 33, who lives in Grindleton.

Their firms, Wheale Environmental Contracting, and Wheale Plant Hire, were prosecuted by the agency, alongside the pair.

Father and son pleaded guilty to a variety of waste offences, and made admissions on behalf of the companies.

Williams, of Norcross Brow, and Benjamin, of Smallden Lane, were each given eight-month prison sentences, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £34,593 in court costs. Both must also complete 150 hours community service.

Wheale Environmental Contracting Limited was also fined £10,000 and Wheale Plant Hire Limited was given a nominal fine.

The court was told the equivalent of 15,000 cubic metres of waste was illegally dumped over a seven-month period.

Tests conducted later showed that the waste involved had the potential to be highly-polluting and posed a potential risk to the environment.

The court heard that the land was cleared of the dumping in 2018 and the site had been fully remediated by the Wheales, under the agency's guidance.

Agency officials say a number of firms had entered into agreements with Wheale Environmental Contracting to remove waste from their respective sites.

Interviewed by investigators, representatives of the firms insisted they had been told by William or Ben Wheale that the Farington site was licensed to accept fragmentised waste.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency spokesman said: "The court's sentencing decision today demonstrates these offences will not be tolerated and we will take action, as in this case, to pursue and prosecute offenders.

"The agency is determined to make life hard for criminals. Our specialist crime unit uses intelligence to track and prosecute those involved in illegal waste activity and we rely on information from the public to bring those responsible to justice."