Stoke & Staffordshire

Charges over Stoke-on-Trent HPR plastics site fire

Crews at the scene Image copyright Staffordshire Fire and Rescue
Image caption The blaze at the site in Milton, started around 08:00 GMT on 5 February 2017

A company and its two directors have been charged with environmental offences after a major factory fire two years ago.

About 1,500 tons of recycled waste went up in flames in February 2017 at Hanbury Plastics Recycling (HPR), in Redhills Road, Milton, Stoke-on-Trent.

HPR Stoke, Richard Devine and Michael Charles appeared at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Monday.

The case was adjourned for a further hearing at the court on 8 April.

Mr Devine, 59, of Fletcher Drive, Altrincham and Mr Charles, 66, of Ouragh Court, Tullow, County Carlow, Ireland, have both served as directors of HPR.

Both men and the company face a charge of breaching an environmental permit and one of improperly storing controlled waste at the site between 27 May 2016 and 9 December 2016.

Image copyright Staffordshire Fire Service
Image caption At its height, more than 50 firefighters tackled the blaze

The court heard HPR Stoke is currently in administration, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Prosecutor Adam Hazelhurst said: "The position is this, we have three defendants, including a company that is in administration.

"I have spoken to the administrator and it looks like the company will be dissolved in about three months."

Mr Hazelhurst asked for a six-week adjournment to allow for defence lawyers to consider 'three or four lever-arch files' worth of evidence'.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency, which brought the charges, said: "As this is an active and ongoing court case, we will not be able to comment at this time."

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