Kent

Smarden mattress mountain man exceeded licence, court hears

Mattresses Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption The court heard the pile reached up to five metres high

A businessman accused of blighting a village with a mountain of discarded mattresses was operating illegally, a jury has been told.

Lewis Bertram is accused of exceeding the limit on a waste licence at his Eco-Matters recycling site in Smarden near Ashford.

The pile of mattresses was a potential fire risk and environmental hazard, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

The Environment Agency brought charges after neighbours complained.

Mr Bertram took on old mattresses and recycled the textiles and metals inside them.

Image caption The court heard that Lewis Bertram failed to take action when asked to do so

But the court heard he had a strict limit of processing 1,000 tonnes at a time and it all had to be done inside.

An environment officer told the court she estimated there was more than double that amount, around 2,300 tonnes.

The pile was up to five metres high and spread out on to land that did not have a licence for waste at all, she added.

The jury heard the mattresses could pose a fire risk and was spreading out on to a nearby water course, which could prove an environmental hazard as well.

The environment agency officer told the court Mr Bertram had been served with a notice to take action, but he had failed to do so.

The case continues.

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