South West Wales

Glass recycling fraud results in four years jail for businessmen

Two businessmen have been jailed for four years each over a multi-million pound glass recycling fraud.

Paul and Andrew Thomas admitted conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering at their Neath company.

Swansea Crown Court heard the firm generated false invoices for machinery and lorries delivering recycled materials which it never received.

The two men were also ordered to repay more than £200,000 each or face an extra 32 months in jail.

The pair were prosecuted after the Nationwide Recycling Ltd facility in Neath was investigated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

The agency said £2.8m was raised through the fraudulent issue of packaging recovery notes for materials that were neither received nor recycled.

'Undermined' industry

NRW said the company also falsified the registration of vehicles supposedly bringing waste to the site.

Following a vehicle check with the DVLA, the investigation found one vehicle to be a Harley Davidson motorbike that had allegedly carried 29 tonnes of glass into the site.

NRW said the pair made a further fraudulent £300,000 by taking aluminium cans from councils on the basis that they would be recycled but instead they sold them to scrap metal dealers and pocketed the money.

John Rock, lead officer for NRW, said: "The actions of the offenders have undermined the recycling markets and industry which are vital to make sure the waste we all produce is not sent to landfill.

"People who do consider breaking the law simply to make money must understand that not only will they be punished for their offences, the profits they make are also at risk."

Paul Thomas was given a confiscation order of £224,702.74 while Andrew Thomas was given a confiscation order of £218,702.74.

Both have six months to pay the order against them or face an extension to their sentences.

Two staff at the firm, Beverley Bradford and Terrance Ainge, were each given two-year jail terms, suspended for two years, at Swansea Crown Court on Friday 5 July, after they admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.