A man who set-up a self-storage business on green belt land in Bulphan, without planning permission, has been ordered to repay £553,772 in illegal profits taken from the business.

Paul Ballard, formerly of Theydon Bois, Essex, had set the self-storage business up in 2014 using Kevin Flack, who was also given a confiscation order at the same trial, to front it. They did not comply with an enforcement notice that required them close the business and return the land to its original state.

Following the hearing which took place on 6 December 2021 at Basildon Crown Court, Ballard has been ordered to pay back the money made from the business and the sale of the land at Burrows Farm, Brentwood Road, Bulphan.

Ben Maney, Thurrock Councillor for  planning, said: “This demonstrates that those who seek to break planning regulations to set-up businesses on land without planning permission will not profit by breaking the rules.

“This significant confiscation order should serve as a warning that we take breaches of planning and enforcement notices extremely seriously and will use every legal means at our disposal to ensure justice is done.”

As well as the £553,772 confiscation order against Ballard, a nominal order of £1 was made against Kevin Flack. Even though he had benefitted from the scheme the court heard that he was an unwitting front-man for Ballard’s illicit business.

Ballard was not ordered to pay costs or a fine. The judge thought there was no reasonable prospect of him paying because he is currently serving a 19 year prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, rape, attempted rape, assault, criminal damage and threats to kill.