Ex-DUP man avoids jail over dumping offences
Exclusive: Skip boss caught by surveillance
This is the former DUP mayor who narrowly avoided prison for operating an illegal waste operation.
Sam McAllister last week walked away with a suspended jail term and a massive fine for burning and storing rubbish at his Co Antrim site.
The two-time DUP mayor of Larne was ordered to pay £40,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act by a Crown Court judge on Monday.
McAllister (73) told Sunday Life the case had "been a nightmare" and he originally faced paying £138,000 for his dodgy skip business.
He pleaded guilty to six offences in March 2017 in relation to illegally transferring and burning waste collected by his firm, Campbell Skip Hire.
He was given a three month prison sentence, suspended for three years, on each charge by His Honour Judge Geoffrey Miller QC.
Investigators from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), part of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), watched McAllister's site at Bentra Road outside Whitehead, between February and September 2015. Controlled waste found on site included concrete, brick, ceramics, plastics, wiring, scrap metal, treated timber, plasterboard, clothing, tyres, food and food packaging waste.
When approached by our reporter, McAllister said: "It has caused me a lot of hassle, a lot of the stuff was wrong and they estimated stuff I was supposed to have in my yard but I'm not making any comment on it."
He did divulge that DAERA was "looking £138,000" to be paid under the Proceeds of Crime Act but declined to discuss it further, saying "it's best to let sleeping dogs lie". He added: "It's over now and it has taken over three years."
A DAERA spokesperson said: "The NIEA has a duty to investigate all reports of environmental crime and will provide evidence to the Public Prosecution Service for decisions on prosecution.
"It is for the courts to make a judgment on each case. Mr McAllister was properly convicted before a court and it would therefore not be appropriate to comment any further beyond the departmental statement."
It's not the first time McAllister, who was mayor of Larne between 1995 and 1997, has found himself at the centre of a waste row.
He was accused of being responsible for a fire at his Bentra Road site near the village of Ballycarry in 2007 which he blamed on an Eleventh Night bonfire started by vandals who "broke in".
McAllister was previously fined £1,400 at Belfast Magistrates' Court in 2005 for waste management regulations breaches.
Neighbours in the rural Co Antrim area have in the past butted heads with McAllister over his "eyesore" waste handling site.
Sunday Life first reported on McAllister flouting the law in 2004 when neighbours gave off about a pile of rubbish behind his house which he claimed was a Twelfth bonfire.