Two brothers have been jailed after dumping enough waste to "fill three Royal Albert Halls", at a quarry they directed in Hertfordshire

Liam Winters, 46, of High Street, Hillmorton, Rugby, was handed a 17-month sentence, while Mark Winters, 49, of Oxford Street, Rugby was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years, after appearing at St Albans Crown Court.

The court heard how the Warwickshire pair disposed of large quantities of household and business waste at Codicote Quarry, where they were directors, for almost three years.

In all, more than 200,000 cubic metres of banned and potentially harmful material was dumped, enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall three times over.

Codicote Quarry had a permit to treat and store a small amount of soil waste, but not hold it in huge quantities, meaning it went beyond what was authorised by the Environment Agency - which questioned the pair in 2017.

The Comet: More than 20,000 cubic metres of banned and harmful materials were dumped at the site.More than 20,000 cubic metres of banned and harmful materials were dumped at the site. (Image: Environment Agency)

As well as mountains of waste, the pair were also burying it, more than 12 metres deep in places, under a layer of chalk.

By November 2017, with the quarry holding so much illegal and contaminated waste, the Environment Agency suspended the site’s permit.

Officers later issued two notices in an attempt to get the waste removed, but none of it was taken away.

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The illegal disposal means the site will need monitored to minimise risk of polluting the River Mimram and groundwater sources, while the brothers have been banned from becoming company directors for eight years.

"We hope that prison for Liam Winters and a suspended term for Mark Winters sends out a strong message that we will prosecute waste site operators who do not follow the rules for disposal," said Barry Russell, environment manager for the Environment Agency in Hertfordshire.

The Comet: Environment Agency staff cleaning up the site.Environment Agency staff cleaning up the site. (Image: Environment Agency)

"The operation of an illegal waste site without regard for the environment and the law has the potential to harm our natural resources, blight communities and undermine the legitimate businesses who do stick to the law.

"Our role is to protect the environment for people and wildlife, so we won’t hesitate to act against those who put either at risk. To anyone flouting the rules, our message is clear: you won’t get away with it."

Liam Winters' prison sentence also relates to illegal waste storage at two more Hertfordshire sites.

At Anstey Quarry, near Royston, waste piles reached 20 metres high, while material at Nuthampstead Shooting Ground was hidden.

A third man, Nicholas Bramwell, admitted allowing plastic, wood, metal, packaging and soil to be buried illegally at these sites.

The 44-year-old, of Shepherds Close, Royston, was fined £1,450 in June last year and ordered to pay £8,000 towards the Environment Agency’s costs and a victim surcharge of £120.