Three men fly-tipped 2,000 tonnes of household waste, including asbestos, at a farm in Bacup before leaving mattresses and sofas outside a council office building.  

Paul Harrison, Paul Bell, and Benjamin Harrison, were all handed suspended sentences at Preston Crown Court on Friday (May 10) following a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.

In February 2021, Environment Agency workers were driving back from a routine check in St Helens on Merseyside when they noticed a suspicious heavy goods vehicle.

An earlier court hearing was told that the vehicle belonged to Paul Michael Harrison, 51, who at the time owned Hey Head Farm in Rochdale Road, Bacup.

When they followed Harrison, they saw he had illegally tipped a large amount of waste on the land, operating an illegal waste disposal operation at his premises.

Alongside his son and fellow defendant, Benjamin Harrison, 22, the Environment Agency found that over the course of a month, the pair had dumped further waste onto the land.

This included approximately 2,000 tonnes of household rubbish, some of which they believed to be asbestos.

On September 30, 2022, over a year after the initial offence, Paul Harrison's lorry was involved in another incident.

The lorry was captured on CCTV with false number plates, with the driver of the lorry filmed dumping 30 tonnes of household waste outside Rossendale Borough Council’s offices at Futures Park at 4.07am.

The piles of rubbish stretched across 10 metres and included mattresses, sofas and building materials, strewn across the road with motorists having to drive over the footpath to get past.

As well as Harrison, the owner of the lorry, Paul Ashley Bell, 59, of Finland Road, Stockport, who had been found to be the driver, was charged with fly tipping.

Bell was not employed by Harrison at the farm, but had occasionally worked for him.

The court heard this second offence had been regarded as a 'revenge attack' on Rossendale Council, due to its investigation on Harrison's previous fly-tipping.

Paul Harrison was convicted after trial of being involved in the deposit of controlled waste in Futures Park, Bacup, and Hey Head Farm, and was handed 18 months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 150-hours of unpaid work.

Paul Bell pleaded guilty to the same offence and was handed eight months in prison suspended for 18 months with a 150-hour unpaid work requirement.

Benjamin Harrison pleaded guilty to knowingly permitting activity in contravention of an environmental permit and was jailed for eight months suspended for 18 months. He was also told to complete 150 hours unpaid work.

At an earlier hearing, the court was told that although it seemed the defendants committed the offences to gain financially, Paul Harrison had recently been declared bankrupt and was in a 'desperate' time financially.

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will now take place in respect of the Harrisons, with the next hearing set for November 2024.