3 million fraudsters jailed for 4 years

TWO directors of a recycling company who fraudulently made £3 million, spending it on houses, cars and holidays, have been jailed for four years.

Llandarcy-based Nationwide Recycling Limited was raided by in December 2010 by the Environment Agency who found its two directors had made £1.5 million each by claiming they had recycled more goods than they had.

Paul Thomas, aged 48, of Eastland Road, Neath, and Andrew Thomas, aged 47, of Cefn Road, Bonymaen, were jailed for four years each by Judge Keith Thomas.

Swansea Crown Court heard Andrew Thomas had enjoyed a top-of-the-range £111,000 Audi and a three-week holiday to Thailand, both paid for by the company.

Paul Thomas had a half share in a £95,000 boat as well as a £450,000 house and agricultural land.

Both had told the court all the money had been spent because the £3 million had all been used to keep the business running.

The judge said that was "ludicrous". He said: "I have no doubt that large sums of money have been spent by Andrew and Paul Thomas on garish tokens of wealth and by both living beyond their means."

He said he believed they did have hidden assets which they had not revealed during their prosecution but accepted they would not total £1.5 million. He ordered both would have to repay £224,702.

Two other staff members from the company, which is now in liquidation, Beverley Bradford, 50, of Tydraw Road, Bonymaen, and Ainge, aged 51, of Mansel Road, Bonymaen, have already received suspended sentences for their part in the fraud.

The company had generated false weighbridge tickets and invoices for materials that were never recycled.

They made up registration numbers for vehicles they claimed had deposited waste to them.

Some of those registration numbers actually belonged to vehicles including a coach, small car or motorbikes. One, which they claimed had delivered 20 tonnes of glass, was a Harley Davidson motorbike.

Officers from the Environment Agency, now known as Natural Resources Wales, found that over six days, 62 loads of glass packaging waste were received, but the company had claimed they had received 130 loads.

The Thomases had made an extra £295,000 by selling cans taken from local authorities.

They also breached the terms of their environmental permit by bringing in large amounts of mixed waste.

Both Thomas admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and two breaches of Environmental permits and money laundering of £295,000.

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