A USED van dealer who illegally dismantled vehicles and burnt tyres at his rural scrap yard has been ordered to cough up nearly £140,000.

Daniel Bane carried on scrapping lorries and other vehicles and allowing huge fires at his Blunsdon yard even after he had been warned it was illegal.

When investigators visited the 44-year-old’s business premises they found a truck laden with several tons of ash, Swindon Crown Court was told.

Another time there was a lorry’s chassis being broken up and a burning pit which, as well as the charred remains of tyres and wheels, also had dashboards, and seats in it.

Father-of-two Bane had been using the land at Small Acres, which is over the road from Kingsdown Nurseries and backs on to fields adjacent to the A419, for 16 years.

The Environment Agency first went to the site in July 2008 and wrote to him the following month informing him he needed a permit for what he was doing.

Despite numerous follow-up visits and much correspondence he continued operating illegally: even after he had been interviewed under caution.

Investigators found pools of oil and anti-freeze on the ground along with other hazardous waste including mercury from fuel cut offs and brake fluid.

Mark Watson, prosecuting, said in order to secure a permit, which was obtained last year, the site needed to have an impermeable surface and sealed drains to prevent soil contamination.

He said while the physical changes had been put in place following the award of a permit it was unknown whether paperwork and trained staff were there.

Bane, of Kingsdown Road, Blunsdon, admitted running a site without a permit and disposing of controlled waste, relating to the fires, between November 2009 and May 2011.

Peter Harrison, defending, said his client did not run an illicit operation but had just been slow to do as he was instructed to comply with the law.

“This is a man who, instead of deliberately and flagrantly setting out to ignore the Environment Agency, did engage with them,” he said. “He had spent £40,000 putting the site right. What the clean-up costs would have been he spent putting the infrastructure in place.”

Passing sentence Judge Euan Ambrose said: “You have entered three guilty pleas to the running of a waste yard, or scrap yard.

“There is clear environmental risk by the burning of tyres or the leaking of car waste fluids into the ground. In my judgement the permit offence was calculated defiance of the regulatory regime over an 18- month period.”

He fined him £20,000, told him to pay £19,418 costs and hand over £100,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

If Bane, who has assets in excess of £625,000, doesn’t pay the £100,000 in six months he faces a two-year jail term with a further year if he doesn’t pay the fine within a year.