Fly-tipping crook dumped 51 tonnes of tyres at site in Glasgow

A scheming workman who dumped more than 51 tonnes of tyres at a waste ground has been jailed for 11 months.

Declan Clarke, 30, was involved in "large-scale" fly tipping of tyres and household waste across Glasgow.

A court heard he was struggling to find work fitting kitchen surfaces and had run up a £5,000 cocaine debt.

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Clarke dumped the tyres which were later set ablaze by others in the city's Drumchapel causing flight disruption at Glasgow Airport in July 2020.

Caught on camera: CCTV images captured Declan Clarke dumping tyres at Gartloch Farm near Easterhouse in Glasgow Pic: Crown Office

He then discarded a further 500 tyres at Gartloch Farm near Glasgow Fort shopping centre months after police raided his home for the earlier offence.

Clarke, of Drumchapel, pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to depositing controlled waste on or in land otherwise than in accordance with a waste management licence.

Jailing him, Sheriff John McCormick said: "This was fly tipping on an industrial scale at a number of locations.

It takes an aerial photograph to capture fully the scale of the 51-tonnes of tyres Clarke dumped in Glasgow's Drumchapel Pic: Crown Office

"You dumped tens of tonnes of tyres and persisted in this activity from June to November 2020 and hired workers and vans to do so.

"You continued to do so even after you knew you were a suspect.

"This is not a victimless crime as there was a cost to the public purse and landowners had to make a substantial cost due to fly tipping to having this cleared.

"The amenity of the countryside was also affected.

Another site in Glasgow where Clarke dumped tyres Pic: Crown Office

"A sentence needs be imposed not just to mark the gravity but to the cost to others and to deter others committing a similar activity.

"There is no appropriate sentence available other than custody."

The court was told that Clarke ran an illegitimate business collecting vanloads of tyres from car garages and tyre fitters for a fee.

A CCTV image captures the wall of tyres council workers found in Drumchapel Pic: Crown Office

Prosecutor Joe Stewart added: "Instead of disposing the tyres lawfully, Clarke simply dumped them on streets, car parks and empty land."

Two white vans were captured on CCTV in the same Drumchapel street 33 times, dumping 51 tonnes of tyres.

Mr Stewart said: "On the evening of July 24, the waste was set on fire.

"A huge amount of smoke was produced which disrupted flights at Glasgow Airport."

Police searched Clarke's home on July 30 and a key to one of the vans was recovered.

Clarke was not arrested and was captured later on CCTV at Gartloch Farm near the city’s Easterhouse depositing tyres on 12 occasions in October 2020.

A second warrant was issued at Clarke's home and he was found hiding under a bed.

A search of Clarke's phone contained conversations about tyre collection and revealed that he was being paid £1-£2 per tyre.

In one message he said: "It's a getting a bit hot to get rid of them."

It cost Glasgow City Council £7,245 to remove what remained of the waste from Drumchapel and a private firm quoted Gartloch Farm £120,000 to remove the tyres dumped there.

Brian Lannigan, defending, told the court that the fire was not caused by father-of-four Clarke.

The solicitor added: "He was employed fitting granite worktops in private houses and because of the pandemic the ability to engage with people in their homes was limited and he lost that job.

"He began to use cocaine, accrued a debt of £5,000 and his family required to be maintained.

"Foolishly, he accepted the criminality he engaged in."

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