Two men have been sentenced after letting thousands of old tyres pile up in their yard, posing a severe fire risk next to the A27.

Gerard Harkin and Dex Boyle, both from Portsmouth, recovered scrap tyres at Twyford Recycling Ltd in Chichester but ignored warnings from the Environment Agency, including orders to stop work because the site at Appledram Business Park was deemed unsafe.

People had expressed concern that the site had been breaking the law in how it stored thousands of tyres collected from other businesses.

The Environment Agency discovered surplus tyres piled high, which created the risk of fire close to the A27 and the Chichester-to-Portsmouth rail line.

Boyle, a 33-year-old director at Twyford, and Harkin, 58, were warned they were breaking the law and should stop receiving more tyres, but no notice was taken.

By May 2021, the tyre stock had doubled in size to at least 100 tonnes, compared to late 2020.

Ian Jackson, an environmental crime officer at the Environment Agency, said: “After frequent warnings, two orders to stop work and plenty of advice and guidance, legal action was necessary as Boyle, from Wymering Road in Portsmouth, and Harkin, of Twyford Avenue in Portsmouth, continued to break the law.

“Twyford Recycling, under the direction of those two men, put the needs of the business first.

“You cannot operate without the necessary environmental protections in place. Harkin and Boyle’s denial they were doing anything wrong was staggering.”

Harkin and Boyle pleaded guilty to allowing Twyford Recycling Ltd to deposit, treat and store tyres outside the company’s environmental permit.

The company also admitted to charges of failing to provide waste transfer notes of tyres brought in and out of the business park.

Twyford Recycling Ltd was fined £500 by Brighton Magistrates’ Court on December 6, paying £500 in costs and a victim surcharge of £50.

Harkin and Boyle were both each ordered to complete 40 hours of unpaid work.