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Almost £20,000 to pay as company director Mark Stone and his firm allowed 20,166 mattresses to be stored on Sprowston estate

PUBLISHED: 09:06 06 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:41 07 May 2017

The mattresses at Salhouse Industrial Estate. Picture: Environment Agency

The mattresses at Salhouse Industrial Estate. Picture: Environment Agency

Archant

A company director and his firm have been ordered to pay a total of almost £20,000 for allowing thousands of mattresses to stack up on a Sprowston industrial estate, posing a "significant" risk of fire and environmental harm.

The mattresses at Salhouse Industrial Estate. Picture: Environment AgencyThe mattresses at Salhouse Industrial Estate. Picture: Environment Agency

At a sentencing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Friday, May 5) Mark Stone, 69, of Marylebone High Street, London, was also ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

Richard Dykes, chair of the bench, said Stone had recklessly failed to act after the Environment Agency warned him about the risks the mattresses posed.

Mr Dykes said: “We believe there was a degree of recklessness in not taking action because of that. We believe the potential harm was, and still is, particularly high.”

Stone is a director of Salhouse Norwich Limited, which owns Salhouse Industrial Estate in Sprowston.

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich Magistrates Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He allowed tenant Mark Quinsey to store 471 tonnes of mattresses at the site, despite regulations from the Environment Agency only allowing a maximum of five tonnes.

Stone had pleaded not guilty to contravening the requirements of an environmental permit between August 24, 2015, and June 8, 2016 and Salhouse Norwich Limited pleaded not guilty to knowingly permitting it.

But he and the company were found guilty of the offences at a trial earlier this year.

Stone was ordered to pay costs of £7,032.99 and a victim surcharge of £60, and Salhouse has to pay a £5,000 fine, costs of £7,032.99 and a £120 victim surcharge.

Quinsey, of The Lane in Briston, pleaded guilty to his charges and in March was given a suspended 20-week prison sentence, ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and pay £750 in costs.

Quinsey had an agreement to take the mattresses from Mattressman as part of a recycling operation.

The court heard they had started stacking up in 2013 and were still on the industrial estate now.

During the trial, Environment Agency officer Jack Colman said 20,166 mattresses were counted there. And Stefan Rider, operational support officer with Norfolk Fire and Rescue, told magistrates that nearby homes and schools would have to be evacuated if the premises caught fire due to the release of “toxic fumes”.

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