A lorry showing false number plates was filmed dumping 30 tons of household waste outside Rossendale Council’s offices.

Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard the fly tipping happened shortly after the lorry owner, Paul Harrison, had been charged in connection with allegedly operating an illegal waste disposal operation from his farm in Bacup.

Harrison, 50, of Rochdale Road, Bacup, was convicted after trial of being involved in the deposit of controlled waste in Futures Park, Bacup.

Paul Bell, 58, of Finland Road, Stockport, pleaded guilty to the same offence.

Both men were committed on bail to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced on December 20, after District Judge Alexandra Preston said her powers of punishment were inadequate.

Tim Leader, prosecuting, said the offence of fly tipping was brought under the Environmental Protection Act against Harrison, the owner of the lorry, and Bell, who had been the driver.

He said Bell was not employed by Harrison but occasionally worked for him.

On September 30, 2022, the lorry involved in the incident made its way to Futures Park at 4.07 am.

Investigations by environmental officers and the police showed the lorry had been driven from Harrison’s farm to the area outside the council offices.

Mr Leader said enquiries also revealed the lorry was carrying false plates and it was eventually traced back to the farm owned by Harrison.

He said CCTV footage showed that it took nearly 25 minutes to tip the rubbish and also that there was another man present.

When interviewed, Harrison said he was in Lanzarote at the time and this was accepted by the prosecution.

“He was prosecuted on the basis that he had left the keys to the lorry where they could be accessed,” said Mr Leader.

"The issue was he could have prevented the lorry’s use.”

He said Bell eventually admitted driving the lorry to the council offices.

“One might ask why he would do that of his own volition,” said Mr Leader.

“Bell pleads guilty on the basis he drove the lorry but didn’t take part in the tipping.

“What occurred was not unrelated to the other matters which are due to come before the court in May.

“It was an offence that was a response to other things that were happening in relation to Harrison transferring waste from his farm.”

Mr Leader said the prosecution claim for costs was £20,036 which covered investigation, clean up and legal costs.

Simon Farnsworth, for Harrison, said his client had been convicted purely on the basis he had left the keys so other people could have the opportunity to take the vehicle.

“There was no evidence my client was party to the tipping, indeed as you have heard he was in Lanzarote at the time,” said Mr Farnsworth.

“The prosecution are suggesting he must have been involved in putting Bell up to it but there is no evidence of that.”

Leigh Wright, for Bell, said his client accepted through his plea that he was the driver.

“There was a third person involved who actually did the unloading,” said Mr Wright.

“While that was going on my client stayed in his cab. He got a knock on the window and was told to leave and get on with his duties."

Mr Wright said his client had put his own Tachograph Card in the lorry thinking he was simply going to deliver a load.

“The third party was either acting under someone’s orders or of his own volition,” said Mr Leigh.

Harrison is due to appear in court in May to stand trial on charges relating to illegal waste disposal operations from his farm.