A site operator has been fined £2250 and ordered to pay £2000 costs after contravening conditions of his licence to keep petroleum spirit.
The magistrates heard that Trading Standards Officers had attended the site to investigate reports of a possible petrol leak onto a nearby disused railway line. During the course of their inspection, the officers had found that the caps on pipes used to fill underground tanks were unlocked - despite a licence condition requiring them to be kept securely locked when not in use.
The court also heard that when an independent expert had examined records being kept at the site he had been able to highlight a number of large discrepancies in the figures. In total, the expert estimated that between 8,200 and 12,800 litres of petrol had been 'lost' from the site during the period 1 August 1999 - 20 October 2000. The court was told how contractors had subsequently been able to find three leaks on the site.
The prosecution explained that records showing work carried out on site were also incomplete and would have prevented repairs or modifications from being identified. Even periodic testing had not been properly recorded.
On behalf of the site operator it was explained that he had not fully understood his obligations under his licence but that he now accepted that he had not kept appropriate and accurate records. It was also explained that filling caps had been removed in advance of fuel delivery which had later been cancelled.
The site operator was fined £750 for each licence contravention and was ordered to contribute £2000 towards prosecution costs.