Grundon wins civil action against skip companies

Three skip hire companies have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds after a successful civil claim brought against them by Oxfordshire-based Grundon Waste Management.

Banbury Mini Skips, ACH Mini Skips (also of Banbury), together
with Village Skips Limited from Daventry, denied claims of
knowingly and dishonestly assisting employees to act in breach of their fiduciary and contractual obligations. The allegations amounted to fraud and breach of contract. After a two day trial at Oxford Combined Court the Judge found in Grundon’s favour.

Andrew McDowell of Banbury Mini Skips was ordered to pay £155,210, Anthony Hone of ACH Mini Skips, was ordered to pay £26,924 and Victor Ian Gardner of Village Skips, ordered to pay £21,584. The Judge also ordered all three defendants to pay interest on the awards and pay Grundon’s legal costs.

Grundon finance director Clayton Sullivan-Webb says the case sends a clear message to skip hire operators that Grundon will not tolerate any type of fraudulent activity at its waste management sites.

“These companies were collecting waste, bringing it to our weighbridge and bribing our employees to under-charge them for the amount of waste they were disposing of,” said Sullivan-Webb.

“Companies like these not only give the industry a bad name, but they are offering the public and businesses a cut price service by committing fraudulent acts and now they are paying the price.”

The civil action centred around two main claims: that each of the skip companies had breached its contract with Grundon to use the waste disposal facilities and had knowingly and dishonestly assisted employees to act in breach of their fiduciary and contractual obligations.

Last year at Oxford Crown Court, former Grundon employees Sheldon Lewin and Anthony Horne pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud and each received a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years, together with 250 hours of community service. Both admitted conspiring with the three defendants in the civil claim.

Following their prosecution, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take criminal action against the three companies involved but, based on CCTV evidence which showed the computerised weighbridge systems being manually overridden, Grundon with the assistance of their legal team from Slade Legal, decided to pursue the civil claims through the High Court.

“We were very pleased with the result,” added Sullivan-Webb. “Our professional reputation and the standing of the waste management industry is extremely important to us and we believe this judgment will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of attempting to bribe our employees in the future”.

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