Fermanagh farm couple have paid £80k fine – but still owe £37k interest

Flashback... A digger arrives at the Slattinagh site to remove tonnes of illegal waste.
Flashback... A digger arrives at the Slattinagh site to remove tonnes of illegal waste.

A Fermanagh farmer, the first person to be jailed in Northern Ireland for illegal dumping, on Friday paid back his share of £80,000 by way of confisication.

In 2006, the now 70-year-old David Erwin Allingham was jailed for nine months for illegally dumping waste from the Irish Republic on his Slattinagh farm in Garrison.

His 67-year-old wife, Freda, a nurse, escaped jail when her four-month term was suspended for two years.

On Friday, Omagh Crown Court – sitting in Belfast – heard that the couple, whose border farm became the first in the removing of thousands of tonnes of rubbish in a multi-million pound clean-up of around 20 sites, have paid back a total of £80,000 between them in fines.

David Allingham has repaid £48,520.80 while his elderly wife has paid back £32,347.20.

A defence barrister told Judge Philip Babington that the full amount of £80,000 “has now been paid in full”.

He said that there was an outstanding balance of around £37,000 in interest which has yet to paid. David Alligham’s share of the balance is £22,215.68, while Freda Allingham still owes £14,810.59.

The defence barrister said that he had been told by the prosecution that “the clock has stopped running on interest payments”.

The court that the couple were in talks with other family members in an effort to raise the funds to pay off the outstanding balance.

The defence barrister added that some of the money would come from the sale of property and also from selling off livestock “but that would depend on the current market value”.

“We have been in discussions with the prosecution and we would ask for a three-week adjournment to allow those discussions to continue.”

A prosecution lawyer said the Crown had no objection to the adjournment.

Judge Philip Babington remarked: “Well, that is good progress.’’

The judge agreed to adjourn the confiscation hearing to Londonderry Crown Court on September 12.’

It was in December 2003 that officials from the Department of Environment found the illegal dumping of household waste from Cork and Wexford buried on the Allingham’s farm.

The couple were convicted of keeping controlled waste and having it without a licence. An estimated 4,500 tonnes of domestic rubbish were found buried on their 65-acre farm.

Allingham admitted being paid between £6,000 and £8,000 to allow the materials to be dumped on the farm. However, the Assets Recovery Agency subsequently sent them a bill for £80,000 – the estimated amount of money they made from their criminal activities.