Building contractor ‘hoodwinked’ by bogus collector
A BUILDING contractor will avoid a conviction after he was ‘hoodwinked’ by a third party claiming to be a legitimate waste collector.
Alan McDonald, 146 Season Park, Newtownmountkennedy, was before Bray District Court on Thursday last to face a ‘transfer control of waste’ charge at Ballinahinch Lower, Newtownmountkennedy, on October 22, 2016.
However, after hearing the evidence, Judge David Kennedy said Mr McDonald was ‘more or less guilty of naivety’ and had been ‘hoodwinked’ by a Thomas Doyle who wasn’t before the court and appears to have left the jurisdiction.
Michael Baines, an Environmental Enforcement Officer for Wicklow County Council, received a report of dumping at Ballinahinch Lower on October 22, 2016, and visited the site, where he found that most of the waste present consisted of demolition materials. There was also a sofa, roof tiles and several black sacks of waste.
A packaging address and healthcare letter was found in one of the sacks and that person was contacted and invited in for an interview.
Mr McDonald then contacted Mr Baines and explained that he was a builder working on behalf of the person whose identity was found amongst the dumped materials.
Mr McDonald acknowledged that he would have been responsible for removing any waste from the site. He said he had been approached by Thomas Doyle claiming to be a waste collector with a valid permit.
Mr Baines told the court that an investigation was carried out and it didn’t appear that Thomas Doyle had ever owned a waste permit licence. He is known to Wicklow County Council over air pollution matters, specifically for selling smoky coal in Bray.
‘Mr McDonald did assist us. He was honest and took full responsibility,’ said Mr Baines.
In the witness box, Mr McDonald said he was working on renovating a house when a transit van pulled up with a cage on it. The driver was handing out leaflets and said he had a permit to dispose of waste.
‘It was Friday and I was in a bit of a hurry. I was doing the wages and made a bad decision by saying “yes” to him’ said Mr McDonald.
He gave evidence that Thomas Doyle informed him that he didn’t have the waste permit licence on him but would bring it with him for the next load he was collecting.
The first load was transported away at around 4.30 p.m. Two hours later Mr McDonald met Mr Doyle travelling along the road but with an empty truck.
‘I realised there weren’t any facilities open to dispose of waste at that time so he must have dumped it somewhere. I followed him for a period but ended up losing him,’ said Mr McDonald.
He found out where Thomas Doyle lived and called around to his house the following morning.
Mr Doyle said the waste was dumped in his back garden. When Mr McDonald asked if he could see the waste, Mr Doyle told him that it was his girlfriend’s house and her two dogs were out the back so he couldn’t enter the rear garden without her being there. He added that his waste collection permit was at his father’s house.
‘I told him please don’t take any more rubbish away from that home,’ said Mr McDonald.
Judge Kennedy noted that Mr Doyle appeared to have ‘hoodwinked a number of people’, including Mr McDonald.
He ordered Mr McDonald to pay the cost of the clean-up (€516.10) and to make a €500 contribution to the poor box before adjourning matters to December 11.