Directors facing six months behind bars
THE two directors of the company responsible for the Fforestfach fire have each been jailed for six months.
Directors of Globally Solutions Limited, Peter Thomas and Scott Phillips, had illegally stored more than 5,000 tonnes of waste in a building the judge said was "inherently unsuitable".
Judge Paul Thomas said: "The scale and impact of this fire is such that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified."
The blaze, which brought the city to a standstill, lasted for 23 days.
It has now been revealed authorities had been tipped off it was being illegally stored in January 2011 and a plan had been put in place in case of a fire breaking out.
Two months later, it did after being started by a person or persons unknown.
The clean-up has already cost £1.6 million, but the cost to taxpayers will go up more once the burned waste has been disposed.
The pair, who were managing director and technical director of the company, admitted knowingly storing waste without the correct permit.
Prosecutor Nicholas Jones said the company, which went bust in 2009, had been taking deposits of the rubber fluff — a combination of textile, rubber and steel — up to six days a week and storing it next to a unit containing flammable waste.
Over the nine-month period in 2008 they received deliveries on 202 days and received payments of £261,559.
The fire brigade remained onsite for four weeks and 58 appliances and 45 officers went to the blaze. In total crews spent 11,747 hours there.
Chris James, representing Phillips, aged 66, from Heol Cadifor, Penlan, said: "He wasn't motivated by anything but a genuine desire to create a viable business venture that would contribute to a cleaner environment."
David Harris, for Thomas, aged 44, from Main Road, Bryncoch, said his client, who has health problems, was not in a position to complete unpaid work or pay a fine after being made bankrupt and urged the judge to impose an alternative sentence.
The judge told the pair: "Both of you bore the onerous responsibility of being directors of the company. Hold pleaded ignorance in one way or another. Ignorance, of course, is no excuse."
"When all is said and done, an event of this magnitude must be marked by an immediate sentence to send a message that regulations such as these are there for a very important purpose," he said.
He added: "The message must be brought home that there is no room for recklessness in this sphere."