A conman who deceived customers over the disposal of harmful asbestos has been ordered to pay back £82,100.

Lee Charles, of Caldicot Gardens, Grantham, toured the country with his scam and had victims in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Charles had previously pleaded guilty in 2022 to lying to customers and giving false paperwork to hide his deception.

He was given a suspended prison sentence.

On May 22 2023, he appeared at Lincoln Crown Court in a case brought by the Environment Agency under the Proceeds of Crime Act, following a financial investigation into the lawful costs he avoided from his crimes.

Charles marketed himself as Lincs Demolition Ltd for two years, claiming he was registered to remove asbestos to gain lucrative jobs, but he had no legal permit to carry out the work.

The 40-year-old carried out his dishonest acts all over the country but nearby affected areas include Norwich, Cambridge, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Peterborough.

Having duped his customers, Charles stashed the waste asbestos in hired storage containers 200 metres from a school.

Charles told the owners of the storage space that he wanted to keep tools there and when he failed to pay the rent on the containers, the owners forced the locks and found the dangerous contents.

Once exposed, he abandoned the storage containers and moved his activities to an unpermitted waste site 16 miles away, where he continued to store asbestos unsafely.

Paul Salter, an Environmental Waste Crime Officer for the Environment Agency, said: "Lee Charles' crimes were not just illegal, but dangerous. 

"He has been ordered to pay back, and this sends out a clear message to others who flout the law that waste crime does not pay."

Charles previously pleaded guilty to two counts of operating a waste operation without a permit between 2019 and 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of keeping or disposing of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm.

Asbestos is a hazardous substance when disturbed and carcinogenic.

The UK banned its use in 1999.