Attempts to find buyer for troubled firm fail

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ADMINISTRATORS have called off attempts to save a controversial recycling firm which is at the centre of a probe into the death of one of its employees.

Michael Whinfrey, 42, a father-of-three was killed in January 2011 after a blast at Rotherham-based Sterecycle, which is still being investigated by police.

Last month, bosses at the firm, which treated household “black bag” waste in a pressurised process known as autoclaving, said they were in administration.

Around 70 of the firms 90 staff were made redundant then, but administrator yesterday confirmed that all staff have gone and the site left to landlords.

The company also caused controversy in communities north of Doncaster after stockpiling 150,000 tonnes of so-called Sterefibre at a landfill site close to the village of Hampole.

The material was what was left after all recyclable goods had been removed from the raw household waste and was supposed to be a soil improver, but the company had struggled to find a market.

After residents complained about the smell of the substance, Sterecycle was ordered to remove it, a task which will now fall the the owner of the landfill site, Doncaster-based CatPlant.

Yesterday, Guy Hollander, from adminstrator Mazars, said it had been difficult to find a buyer for the business when its main customer terminated its contract.

Mr Hollander added; “BDR, whic a partnership set up by Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councils to deal with household waste, was the only customer.

“When the firm went into administration the partnership pulled out, meaning that we were trying to sell a company without any customer at all.”

South Yorkshire Police is still working on the investigation into the death of Mr Whinfrey, who came from Wickersley, near Rotherham.

The Health and Safety Executive is also involved and the Crown Prosecution Service will make a decision on whether to take the case to court soon.

Mr Hollander said he expected to pay a dividend to creditors of the firm, but how much they would get and when would depend on any prosecution which is brought and the level of any fine imposed.