Developers who allegedly unlawfully knocked down a 159-year-old Melbourne pub have been fined more than $600,000 for dumping asbestos from the site to an area bordering homes.

The company, 160 Leicester, was fined $300,000 in the Sunshine Magistrates Court on Wednesday while its directors Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri were each fined $120,000.

They were also ordered to pay $30,000 to a community environmental project, plus $35,000 in costs.

Prosecutors alleged waste containing asbestos from the former Corkman Hotel site in Carlton was dumped in Cairnlea.

The pile, 30m long, 8m wide and 1.5m high containing wood, iron sheeting, bricks, carpet, rocks and piping, was close to homes, a shopping centre and 350m from a childcare centre and primary school.

Magistrate Richard Pithouse said the breach was significant and showed “a complete disregard of the law”.

“If jail was available I would be imprisoning the accused,” he said.

The company and directors pleaded guilty in March to dumping industrial waste at an unlicensed site and failing to comply with a notice to ensure asbestos at the Carlton hotel site was not blown about in high winds.

It followed an investigation by the Environment Protection Authority.

EPA CEO Cathy Wilkinson hoped the outcome would put developers and company owners on notice.

“They can’t put the public and the environment’s health at risk by ignoring their legal obligations to dispose of industrial waste at a facility licensed to receive it,” she said.

“Act first, ask for forgiveness later is not a viable approach as it will end up being much more costly in the long run.”

The developers will return to court in January for a four-day contested hearing over the alleged illegal demolition of the Carlton hotel in October, 2016.