THE former boss of a scrapyard in Calne has been ordered to hand over just £200,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The figure is the same as the total assets Lee Averies has at his disposal, in what the court called a 'pragmatic and commercial' decision.

The 49-year-old, who was legally aided, will only have to settle £15,000 of the Environment Agency's £25,000 costs, leaving the taxpayer to pick up the rest.

At the same hearing one of his companies, Calne Aggregates Holding, was fined a nominal £1 as it is in liquidation with little or no assets.

The court noted the Abberd Lane site has still not been cleaned up, despite a Criminal Behaviour Order banning Averies from the waste trade being suspended to allow it.

Judge Jason Taylor QC, sitting at Swindon Crown Court, found Averies benefitted from crime to the tune of £200,000 and had available assets of the same amount.

He gave him three months to hand over the money, though that can be extended if needed, or he will face a three year jail term.

The judge also ordered he pay the £15,000 costs in the next two years, saying "My anticipation is money will be available for Mr Averies to source."

At the end of the hearing he said "Can I thank the parties. A pragmatic and commercial decision has been taken and for what it is worth it has the court's blessing."

Earlier Jamas/(corr) Hodivala, for Averies, pointed out that he did not have the funds to pay costs as all his available assets were being taken in the confiscation hearing.

He said that his client was having to borrow money to settle the debt, with \388,000 coming from a relative.

Averies, of The Marsh, Wanborough, was spared jail and banned from the waste business in October 2016 after admitting three offences against the Environment Protection Act.

He and his brother David, 41, of Dydale Road, had been due to stand trial until entering guilty pleas before a jury could be sworn in.

They admitted ‘by their consent, connivance or neglect’ allowing their companies to breach the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The prosecution came after huge fires ravaged through their Swindon Skips Ltd depot at Brindley Close, on Cheney Manor, twice between 2013 and 2015.

In the summer of 2014 the Averies Recycling site at Marshgate suffered a huge fire which burned for more than 57 day, spewing pollution across the town.

As well as being put on a one-year suspended sentence Lee Averies was made subject to a criminal behaviour order, similar to an ASBO, banning him from working in the business for five years.

David Averies was fined and disqualified from being a company director for three years.