A FARMER has become the first person in Northern Ireland to be jailed for the illegal dumping of waste.
David Edwin Allingham, 61, from Slattinagh, Co Fermanagh, was jailed for nine months at Enniskillen Crown Court for a series of breaches of waste management legislation.
His wife, Freda, received a four-month sentence, suspended for two years.
Judge Babbington told Allingham: "It is surprising that a farmer, someone who supposedly husbands the land, is prepared to allow this material to be deposited on his land, material which will only damage it and the surrounding environment.'
The case was taken against the couple by the Department of the Environment, which made clear it was getting tough with polluters.
A spokesman said: "DoE will continue to pursue polluters and use the courts to protect the environment.'
The prosecution was launched following investigations by the DoE's Environment and Heritage Service and Fermanagh District Council.
The investigations at the Allinghams' property in December, 2003, showed an estimated 4,500 cubic metres of biodegradable municipal-type waste originating from the Irish Republic had been buried on the site.
Judge Babbington said: "To put this into perspective, a small district council area, such as Moyle District Council, would produce 10,000 cubic metres a year.'
The judge said it had been estimated that the possible pollution of the environment by the decaying waste's black, oily liquid leeching into the ground "could amount to the equivalent of some 25,000 wheelie bins over a 30-year period'. …