Court finds rogue recycler guilty over mountain of mattresses left to rot in village

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A rogue recycler accused of blighting a village by allowing a mountain of mattresses to build up has been found guilty of breaching environmental laws in England.

Lewis Bertram, 51, was convicted of three charges after hundreds of discarded mattresses were left to rot in Smarden, Kent – posing a fire risk to nearby properties and risking damage to rivers.

Bertram, who ran recycling firm Eco-Matters on the Smarden Business Estate, was prosecuted by lawyers for the Environment Agency after ignoring a series of enforcement warnings.

Bertram, of Well Street, Loose, near Maidstone, was found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court of failing to comply with waste exemptions and failing to comply with an enforcement notice, and will be sentenced on February 3, the Environment Agency said.

He operated a mattress recycling business at two units in the village, close to several homes, since July 2013, but the following year the Environment Agency found the law being flouted.

Legal action was finally taken against Bertram as the site became stacked with waste mattresses, divan bed bases and bed parts, and he ignored warnings to comply with the law.

Alan Cansdale, environment manager from the Environment Agency said: “His actions showed blatant disregard for local residents and businesses putting the environment and local amenity at risk.

“Mr Bertram ignored numerous opportunities given to him by our officers to bring the operations back into compliance.

“Waste exemptions are designed for activities deemed to be of low risk to the environment and have strict conditions that must be complied with.”

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