Jail sentences for flouting the planning system

An Egham couple have been jailed for a combined total of more than 12 years after they failed to pay back over £1.4 million in criminal gains made through flouting the planning system.

Runnymede Borough Council has been pursuing members of the Beach family through the courts for a number of years because of unauthorised use of land at Padd Farm in Hurst Lane, Egham. At the latest court appearance on Friday (23 February) husband and wife Daniel Charles Beach and Linda Mary Beach were jailed for failing to comply with confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Mr Beach received seven and half years while Mrs Beach has been jailed for five years. The length of the sentences relate to the sums of money under the POCA that the court had previously ruled each couple was responsible for paying.

Storing waste containers

Early court hearings had concluded that, without planning permission, Daniel Charles Beach and Linda Mary Beach had used the land to store waste and freight containers as well as allowed vehicles to be broken up, repaired and restored along with other industrial activities. While large sums of money have been recovered by Runnymede Borough Council, at the last court hearing on Friday, the total owed by the Beach's was around £1.4 million.  At the completion of their sentences Mr and Mrs Beach will still have to pay the outstanding money, along with further interest payments built up while they delay.

Leader of Runnymede Borough Council, Cllr Nick Prescot, said: "As a Council we have worked tirelessly in this case to uphold planning regulations, carry out enforcement action and then regain the criminal income that had been made.  When repayments haven't been made we've continued to pursue the case through the court and that has resulted in the prison sentences that have been handed down. This case is an example of how seriously Runnymede takes its responsibilities within the planning system."