Director landed with £1,700 bill after tyre fire released plume of black smoke - The Rugby Observer

Director landed with £1,700 bill after tyre fire released plume of black smoke

A PLUME of black smoke seen rising from a tyre fire in Wolvey has landed a company director with a £1,700 legal bill.

James Doherty refused entry to a community safety warden and gave a false name when confronted about the blaze.

Rugby Borough Council (RBC) received an anonymous tip-off on April 24 about a fire at a premises in Coal Pit Lane, Wolvey.

The warden arrived and spotted a bonfire containing a tyre and other waste.

Through a locked gate, Doherty told the warden he was burning paper and other rubbish, and said the black smoke was due to the diesel he had poured on the fire to start it.

When the warden asked to enter the site to inspect the fire, Doherty refused, claiming he did not own the premises. He gave his name as Chris Hansford and said the site was owned by the company Stoke Plant Hire, whose owner was a Brendan Doherty.

A subsequent investigation by the council’s environmental health team revealed the site was purchased in 2009 by a James Joseph Doherty, of Rugby Road, Binley Woods.

In 2011 James and Brendan Doherty successfully applied for planning permission to demolish a bungalow on the site and construct a building for use as a plant maintenance depot.

Stoke Plant Hire Limited and Three Oakes Plant Hire Limited both operated from the site, with James Joseph Doherty listed as a director of both firms.

When James Doherty was interviewed under caution with an environmental health officer, he was shown stills from body camera footage taken at the site by the community safety warden.

He confirmed he was the man who had spoken to the warden on the day of the incident, and admitted to starting the fire and preventing the warden from accessing the site.

At Nuneaton’s Warwickshire Justice Centre, Doherty pleaded guilty to two offences under the Clean Air Act 1993 – causing or permitting dark smoke to be emitted from an industrial or trade premises, and obstructing the community safety warden from exercising the power to enter the site.

The 44-year-old told magistrates he was ashamed to find himself in court and apologised to both the magistrates and the council.

Doherty was fined a total of £416 for both offences and was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £1,279 and a victim surcharge of £36.

After the hearing, RBC environment and public realm spokeswoman Coun Lisa Parker said: “Burning tyres can release a number of poisonous chemicals into the atmosphere which present a genuine risk to the public.

“All businesses have a responsibility to both the environment and public safety, and the Clean Air Act sets out clear standards which the council has a duty to enforce.”

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