A woman whose garden was turned into an illegal scrap metal yard has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds in fines.

Mirela Nicolae’s garden was full of engine parts, metal fridges, bed frames, bathroom furniture and prams.

The goods were being broken into component parts, before the valuable metal was taken to scrap metal centres in London using Ms Nicolae’s van.

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Council officers visited Ms Nicolae’s home in Canterbury Avenue, where it was found to be used as an unauthorised and unlicensed waste transfer station.

Waste piled up in Ms Nicolae’s van

Waste piled up in Ms Nicolae’s van

The van was seized after a warrant was issued on November 28, 2019 under the Environment Act 1995.

The 56-year-old left the country the next day.

However, proceedings continued in her absence and a warrant issued for her arrest was issued and then executed when she re-entered the UK.

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Ms Nicolae appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday 7 May and admitted two charges of dealing scrap metal without a licence contrary to the Scrap Metal Dealer’s Act 2013 on November 28, 2019, and failing to provide waste documents contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 on December 6, 2019.

She was fined a total of £1,120 and ordered to pay council prosecution costs of £2,000 and a victim surcharge of £122.

Councillor Pavitar K. Mann said: “Licences are there to make businesses responsible for their day to day activity.

“And a home garden is not a suitable place to run such a business from.

“Flytipping and illegal sites like this one was, leave all residents paying for the removal of other people’s rubbish.”