‘Officer feared assault’

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A FORMER skip hire company director has been fined £500 after being found guilty of a public order offence.

Harold Richardson, of South Crescent, Hartlepool, was also ordered to pay costs of £769 to the Environment Agency, which brought the case at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court.

The 56-year-old was found guilty of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

He was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

Craig Burman, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court how on October 22 last year, Environment Agency officials were called out to investigate a fire at a site next door to SGW, in Mainsforth Terrace.

The officers were given permission to access SGW’s premises by the site manager in order for them to assess the environmental risk of the fire.

But Mr Richardson appeared while the officers were on site and he was abusive and aggressive towards one of them, telling him to “get off his site”.

Mr Richardson was not employed by SGW and had no involvement in the running of the site.

Magistrates heard that the officer feared Mr Richardson would assault him.

The incident was witnessed by workers of SGW and other Environment Agency staff.

Mr Burman told the court that Mr Richardson had previous convictions for environmental offences and the court heard that part of his tirade against the officer was because of previous dealings he’d had with the Environment Agency, while his company was operating the site.

The site used to be occupied by Levelsix Limited, of which Mr Richardson was a director.

Speaking after the case, a spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We won’t tolerate abuse of our staff and we take cases of threatening or intimidating behaviour very seriously.

“We will always prosecute where appropriate.”