A BUSINESS owner defied council demands to stop an illegal car wash enterprise at Abingdon Road, Oxford, a court has heard.

The Wash and Go car wash business, which is still operating near to the Tesco Express store, was served an enforcement notice by Oxford City Council almost three years ago.

James Pollitt, of Boars Hill, Oxford denies one count of breaching an enforcement notice to cease all activities and knock down any equipment at the car wash site.

As his trial at Oxford Crown Court began yesterday the prosecution said that Pollitt, 54, had acted as the 'driving force' behind the operation and had ignored demands from the council to stop.

The jury of seven men and five women heard how Pollitt, who is also known as Ronnie, had taken on the lease for the land from a London-based investment business.

Prosecuting, Tim Boswell, said: "That car wash was set up and operated in breach of planning controls.

"So the city council served an enforcement notice that required the use of the car wash to stop.

"Mr Pollitt had leased that site from a company in London and the notice was ignored, it simply carried on.

"It may well be that he was not there every day and we don't suggest that he was there washing the cars, there were people employed to do that.

"But he was running the show."

Oxford City Council, the court heard, first issued an enforcement notice asking Pollitt to stop all operations and dismantle the site on October 28.

This was due to be completed by December 12 of the same year, but the set up has since remained operational.

Taking to the witness box, ex-planning enforcement officer for the council Hannah Wiseman said she first visited the site on July 16 2014 after being made aware by a ward councillor that work was being carried out.

She told jurors: "On that visit I do recall there was fencing closing the site and the next time [I visited] there was a guy on the site doing something with the water pipes.

"He said 'you need to speak to somebody called Ronnie'. I left a business card with that guy and after that happened I had a telephone conversation with Mr Pollitt."

She said that she went on to meet with him at the site to explain that planning permission would need to be sought for the development.

She added that the site would only have been granted permission for housing due to council planning policy.

Pollitt maintains that he was not the owner of the car wash firm nor was he responsible for the use of the land.

The trial continues.