THE director of a family-run skip hire company is to appear in court charged with serious environmental breaches.

Raymond Shepherd, of Albert Hill Skip Hire, in Darlington, is accused of allowing the company to store rubbish without an Environment Agency permit and ignoring a prohibition notice to stop trading as a waste transfer operation.

Mr Shepherd, 57, is also charged with illegally running one of the business’ depots between May 2010 and March this year, and ignoring a notice to suspend operations.

He is due to appear at Teesside Crown Court on Thursday, December 20, to enter pleas to the charges.

Three members of Mr Shepherd’s family are also charged with similar allegations.

Paul Shepherd, 55, of West Musgrave Farm, St Helen Auckland, County Durham, faces charges of storing waste without a permit, breaching an environmental licence at the firm's yard in Whessoe Road, Darlington, and flouting a suspension warning.

Tony Shepherd, 38, of Winston, near Darlington, is charged with polluting Tindale Beck, in St Helen Auckland, and contravening an environmental permit.

Jack Shepherd, 23, also of West Musgrave Farm, faces an allegation of depositing waste without a permit.

All three men will appear at Teesside Crown Court on Thursday to enter pleas to the charges.