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£7,000 goes up in smoke for Gillow Heath man

Burning waste wood at his home address has resulted in a Gillow Heath man seeing over £7,000 of his funds go up in smoke.

Newcastle magistrates found Charles Percy Shaw, of Akesmore Lane, guilty in his absence of breaching a nuisance abatement notice issued by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council on four separate days and imposed a total penalty of £7,368.02.

The original notice was served in November 2015 after a large bonfire was used to dispose of waste wood on land at Moody Street Farm. The fire, and the associated smoke, resulted in a significant number of complaints to the Council.

It was extinguished by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service at the request of the Council's Environmental Health team. Investigations revealed that the wood had been buried into a pit in preparation for burning.

In November last year further complaints were received following another fire which took a number of days to extinguish and meant neighbours in Gillow Heath and Biddulph were unable to open windows or hang out washing for a number of days between 7 and 10 November.

It was, again, found that waste wood had been buried prior to burning which caused significant smoke emissions when lit.

Councillor Arthur Forrester, cabinet member for the environment at the Council, said: "These fires caused significant inconvenience to neighbours with the impact of the smoke lasting for days and preventing those living nearby from carrying out every day, domestic activities.

"This is clearly a situation that we cannot allow to happen and we welcome the decision of the court to impose this substantial penalty. It sends out a clear message that we won't tolerate such inconsiderate behaviour and I hope will act as a strong deterrent to prevent similar incidents in the future."

Magistrates imposed a fine of £1,000 for failure to comply with the notice issued on 6 November 2017 and a further £100 for similar failures on 7, 8 and 9 November. Council costs of £1,278.66 were awarded together with a compensation order of £4,689.36 for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and a £100 victim surcharge resulting in a total penalty of £7,368.02.