Jailed golf course owner defiant over use of waste

Bicester Advertiser: Mick Wyatt, right, with his nephew Mark, who has launched a bid to get Oxfordshire County Council to end its dispute over the use of waste material at the golf course Mick Wyatt, right, with his nephew Mark, who has launched a bid to get Oxfordshire County Council to end its dispute over the use of waste material at the golf course

JAILED golf course owner Mick Wyatt last night vowed he was prepared to go to prison again.

He has just been released from a two-month jail term at HMP Pentonville in London.

The 75-year-old yesterday spoke about his and his brother Ron’s time in prison and described how he lost one-and-a-half stone and spent most of the day in his cell.

The Wyatt brothers run Waterstock Golf Club near Wheatley and used between 56,000 and 65,000 cubic metres of waste material from the construction of the M40 services to carry out landscaping work in the 1990s, but did not get the correct permission.

Despite repeated requests by the county council, it says the waste has not yet been removed.

In December, the two brothers appeared at the Court of Appeal in London in a final attempt to avoid jail.

But a panel of three High Court judges found in favour of the county council and the pair were sent down to spend Christmas and New Year in Pentonville.

Mick Wyatt said: “We kept our heads down and lasted the course.

“The first day in there we were given a bunk bed but that didn’t work because Ron has his bad knee and I was on top but I fell out so they gave us single beds instead.

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“There were all sorts of people in there. One person who we met was on a bullion heist and was the getaway driver.”

Despite the jail term, he said he was still unable to comply with the High Court order to dig up his land, adding: “We have fought this for 16 years. We wouldn’t do that for no reason.

“I do accept that I could go back to prison for longer.”

Mr Wyatt’s 70-year-old brother Ron remains in prison.

Now Witney MP David Cameron has asked Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to look into his case after concerns about his health.

Ron is due to be released on Thursday, March 7.

His brother said: “Obviously we didn’t see any of our family and we missed them because we are quite close knit. Christmas was lost this year.”

It was in 1998 the brothers received the first injunction ordering them to clear the waste and, after no work was carried out, a High Court order was issued in 2005.

At their Court of Appeal hearing in December last year the Wyatts’ barrister said the pair had given the work to a contractor, who said the work couldn’t be done.

Ned Westaway added that it would be impossible to identify precisely what was needed to be done to put the land into a similar state that it was prior to the waste being dumped.

Last year Ron and Mick were jailed for six months and four months respectively for failing to comply with the order.

The family has also appealed to Oxford East MP Andrew Smith and Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood for help.

Neither MP would say whether they would intervene, whether they supported the brothers or whether they felt they had been treated unfairly.

Ms Blackwood said: “The details of my constituents’ cases are obviously confidential, and this case is also particularly sensitive from a legal perspective, but I am, of course, offering Mr Wyatt, the same support and advice I offer to all my constituents as their local MP.”

Mr Smith said: “All parties will now need to consider whether any agreed way can be found to resolve the dispute, and it is clearly in the public interest that a fair solution is found.”

County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The High Court injunction requiring the removal of the waste still applies.

“The council will continue to pursue appropriate enforcement action as necessary.

“The Wyatts continue to spend their energy criticising the actions of the council but avoid facing the reality that they have to remove unlawfully dumped material.”

Oxfordshire County Council has the power to enforce the order by removing the waste itself.

When asked whether this was something the council was considering, leader Ian Hudspeth said: “There were plans which should have been complied with so we are looking at all options available to us on how to proceed.”

  • THE Oxford Mail has been made aware of a flier headed Justice for the Wyatt Brothers appealing for people to sign a Government e-petition. It carries the Oxford Mail logo. This is an unauthorised use of the Oxford Mail logo and the newspaper is not involved nor endorses the campaign.
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