An unlicensed scrap metal dealer who drove off when his vehicle was approached by a council warden and was stopped by police has been left hundreds of pounds worse off.
John Lovett, 39, of Seaham, has been successfully prosecuted by Durham County Council for trading as a scrap metal dealer without a licence.
Newton Aycliffe magistrates on Wednesday heard how the council warden was on patrol in the Plawsworth area of Chester-le-Street in February as part of Operation Whitehall, through which checks are made for scrap metal and waste carriers documentation.
The warden saw a tipper van parked just off the A167 laden with scrap metal. A man was seen placing further items of scrap on the back.
The warden approached the vehicle but as he was doing so two men got in and drove off.
The warden used his radio to request police assistance. Officers responded and stopped the vehicle on an industrial estate at Rainton. The warden arrived and took photos of the van laden with scrap.
Lovett, of Eastleigh Crescent, had been driving the vehicle. He said he would be weighing in the scrap at a local dealer but admitted he did not have a licence.
Lovett was found guilty in his absence and fined £135, ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge and costs of £265.
Joanne Waller, the council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Anyone buying, selling or carrying scrap metal must have a licence from us to comply with the law. Mr Lovett did not and now finds himself financially worse off and with a criminal conviction as a result.
“We hope this case will serve as a timely reminder to anyone tempted to collect scrap without a licence.”
To find out how to get a licence, visit http://www.durham.gov.uk/article/2173/Scrap-metal-dealers-licence