It cost the public purse £437,000 to clear up this dangerous tyre dump at Netherton Industrial Estate, near Wishaw General Hospital.
The figure came to light as tyre recycling firm director Paul Cook was jailed for 14 months at Hamilton Sheriff Court and his former company fined £195,000.
Cook (34), of Wishaw, and Earthmover Tyre Recycling Limited admitted operating without a waste management licence.
The scale of the illegal operation emerged two years ago and caused such concern that Wishaw General reviewed its evacuation plans while air quality monitoring was carried out at the hospital.
There were an incredible 114,000 tyres stockpiled. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency removed most of these as well as quantities of chemicals in order to reduce the likely impact in the event of a fire.
The court heard the volume and manner of the storage of these tyres would never have been licensed.
Tyres were stacked haphazardly and there was insufficient access to the site for fire trucks. Tyres were stacked too high and too close together. A licensed site would require to store tyres with fire breaks of at least 15 metres. At Cook’s depot some tyres were stacked 20 feet high with gaps between piles of only a metre.
MSP John Pentland, who had pressed the authorities to take action, said: “I hope this sentence acts as a deterrent to those who think this is a good way to make a quick buck, but urge people to be on the lookout for other such dumps.
“When this was first reported, I argued that we need better ways of monitoring how tyres are disposed of. I still think we need a statutory system to track tyre waste.”
Full story in this week’s Motherwell Times, on sale now.