Two arrests were made yesterday (April 20) following raids by the Environment Agency and Police over alleged illegal waste activities at sites in Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Hertfordshire.
Five dawn raids were carried out as part of an in-depth investigation, which has been ongoing since last summer, the Environment Agency has revealed, into illegal dumping of waste. Two people were arrested pending further enquiries and the Environment Agency has said a third person will be helping them with their enquiries.
According to the Agency, enforcement action took place at five separate addresses across the three counties following an investigation into illegal dumping of between 20,000 – 25,000 tonnes of waste at 17 sites across the Midlands, North West and North East.
Paul Clarke, lead investigator in the Environment Agency’s national investigation team, said: “The Environment Agency takes waste crime seriously and we will persistently pursue those suspected of illegally dumping waste.”
“In this case we have 17 landowners and communities blighted by significant amounts of dumped waste. We’ve already seen some of these sites catch fire, causing significant impact on communities, the environment and our emergency services partners who have to tackle them.”
Mr Clarke added: “Illegal waste activity of the likes we’re investigating here diverts £1billion from legitimate businesses and the treasury, and at the Environment Agency we do everything we can to bring those responsible to account.”
More than 25 Environment Agency investigators and over 20 police officers were seeking evidence at the suspects’ homes and business addresses as part of Operation Cesium.
The investigation will now continue to examine the evidence seized to determine the full extent of the suspected offences, the Agency has revealed, adding that the investigation is expected to continue for a number of months.