A GOWER scrap merchant has been found guilty of dumping dozens of tyres in woodlands near to a field where he kept a pet pig.
Swansea Magistrates' Court heard that up to 50 old tyres were found "concealed" in bushes off Culfor Road near Loughor.
The tyres were traced to Robert Collis, of Duffryn Road, Gorseinon, because a number of them were covered in dried yellow foam similar to ones at his yard in Crofty.
Collis, who was representing himself in court, said the tyres in his yard were covered in the expandable DIY foam because two men who worked for him had been "clowning around" with a tin of the substance when it had exploded — but he maintained the tyres in the woods had nothing to do with him.
John Tarrant, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said that for someone else to have been responsible for the dumping there would have had to have been a series of coincidences.
He said that the 46-year-old would have had to have been the unluckiest man on the planet for the coincidences to all have come together at the same time.
The court heard that in December, 2011, officers from the Environment Agency had visited Collis Metals and Skip Hire on Crofty Industrial Estate and told the owner he had to remove the waste from his yard — but that by February 2012 he had not done so, and an enforcement order was issued.
Again nothing was done, and the order was extended to April.
In May, of that year scrap tyres were found dumped in woods near a lane that runs from Culfor Road to a field where Collis kept a pet pig.
Magistrates were told that the tyres had not just been thrown from the lane but had been carried into the woods and "concealed" among the bushes and trees.
Mr Tarrant said: "At the time you were under extreme pressure from the Environment Agency to deal with the tyres.
"Are you suggesting that it is a coincidence that a yellow foam was splattered all over your yard and a similar substance was found on the tyres on a lane near to land you access?
"Are you suggesting someone knew how to open the gate to the lane — which looked locked — and are you suggesting it was a coincidence that with all the random places they could have chosen to put the tyres, they put them in woodlands near to land you use?
"That would make you the unluckiest man on the planet — are you the unluckiest man on the planet, or did you dump tyres you could not get rid of in any other way?" Collis again said the tyres were nothing to do with him, and that he had no need to dump them anywhere as he had a proper arrangement with Kingsbridge Auto Salvage in Kingsbridge to take tyres from his business.
However, magistrates found Collis guilty of depositing waste without a permit, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Chairman of the bench, Phil Llewelyn, said: "This offence is so serious that it crosses the community order threshold — it is too serious to be dealt with by way of a fine or conditional discharge."
Collis was given a 12-month community order and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work which will involve clearing rubbish from litter and fly- tipping hotspots across Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.
Mr Llewelyn said the court was not going to impose the requested costs of the investigation and prosecution — some £2,720.76 — because Collis already had "a considerable amount" of money owing to the courts.
The court heard Collis had more than £6,500 in outstanding fines following previous legal actions.
Mr Llewelyn told Collis: "We do not want to see you in court again."