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One of the largest ever confiscation orders obtained by the Environment Agency (EA) has been imposed on a convicted waste crime offender, who ran an illegal waste haulage business.

John Bruce has been given three months to pay £2.1m following a confiscation case at Worcester Crown Court.

Judge Nicholas Cole branded 48-year-old Bruce a “career criminal” and said that he would face seven years in jail if he did not pay the money.

Bruce received a 26-month jail sentence in May 2018 for operating an illegal waste site at a farm on Throckmorton Airfield in Worcestershire.

He was initially prosecuted for six offences where waste totaling 25,000 cubic metres was either dumped, buried or burned at the site.

The court heard that the defendant had grown his business and he had invested in various properties, land and cars.

Bruce also owned a large selection of expensive items of heavy plant, which he hired, bought and resold.

Judge Cole ruled that a trust he had also set up was a sham and that the money held in a bank account operated by the trust formed part of his criminal benefit.

James Puzey, prosecuting counsel for the EA, said: “The defendant is a dedicated career criminal who has ignored planning and environmental law to run a waste haulage and processing business.”

An EA spokesman said the case was the second largest confiscation order it had obtained nationally: “The case shows that we’re not just content to prosecute those who run illegal waste sites, we’ll also come after them to get back the profits they made from their illegal activities and to recoup taxpayers’ money spent on pursuing them,” the spokesman added.