Warren Roberts, Cesario DeAbreu, and Andrew Barnett

Three men have been jailed for bribery following an investigation into corrupt activity at Bessemer Close Commercial Recycling Centre, a waste management facility run by Cardiff City Council.

Two other men received suspended prison sentences for their part in the corruption which resulted in losses of around £417,000 to the council.

The convictions, believed to be the first obtained by South Wales Police under the new Bribery Act, follow a complex and protracted investigation which began in 2017.

Officer in the case, Detective Constable Joseph Lewis, from South Wales Police, said:

“The defendants showed staggering levels of dishonesty in exploiting their positions of trust to deprive Cardiff Council of significant income.

“All presented themselves as legitimate hardworking council employees however the investigation identified an entirely different picture.”

The corrupt activity came to Cardiff Council’s attention in March 2017 when a whistle blower alleged corruption within the Waste Management Division.

It was alleged that Warren Roberts, the controller of waste disposal company A&T Waste Management, was paying bribes to Cardiff Council staff to misrepresent the type or amount of waste being deposited at the site to reduce A&T’s billed amount.

As a result, A&T were saving a significant amount of money in their operating costs in the form of tipping fees. In return staff were being paid cash for their participation in this offence.

On the day of his arrest around £40,000 in cash was recovered from Roberts’ home address. With further cash seized from the other defendants’ home addresses.

All five men were sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, November 9.

Andrew Barnett, 54, was found guilty of bribery offences and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Warren Roberts, 54, and Cesario DeAbreu, 33, had pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and they were sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment and 22 months’ imprisonment respectively.

Joshua Hayman, 33, and Anthony Miles, 55, pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and were sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months and 14 months suspended for 12 months respectively.

DC Lewis added: “Between November 2016 and February 2018, the five men sought to enrich themselves at the expense of Cardiff Council and taxpayers.

“These convictions, believed to be the first obtained by South Wales Police under the Bribery Act, and prison sentences should serve as a strong deterrent to anyone seeking to engage in corrupt activity.”

Text messages between Roberts, from A&T Waste Management, and DeAbreu, who was employed as a weighbridge operator at the council’s Bessemer Close waste site

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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