Fourteen arrested in £78m landfill tax fraud investigation
The early-morning arrests were carried out across the North East and Yorkshire by around 180 officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), supported by the Environment Agency (EA) and local police forces.
Six commercial addresses in Gateshead, Washington, Hartlepool, Hull and Leeds and eight residential addresses in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Hull were searched in the morning raid.
Those arrested included 11 men and three women, aged between 23 and 49. Five of the 14 arrests were made in Hartlepool.
Systematic abuse of landfill tax system
Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Today’s activities are the culmination of 18 months’ painstaking investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system.
“We believe that over £78-million revenue may be involved, money which could be used to fund some of the UK’s most vital public services.
“No one is above paying their fair and legal share of tax, as the rest of us do, and we are closing in on those who try to cheat the system. HMRC, working with our law enforcement partners, will do everything within our power to catch those involved in tax fraud of any kind, and will push for the strongest punishments through the court.”
A spokesperson for the EA said: “The Environment Agency is supporting HMRC in a major operation at locations across Yorkshire and the North East.
“We are working closely with our partner organisations to help stamp out landfill tax evasion.”
Regulators ‘listening and delivering’
Responding to the arrests, Sam Corp, Head of Regulation at the Environmental Services Association (ESA), said: “ESA has long been calling for a more joined up approach to fighting waste crime, and this recent announcement suggests that the regulators and government have been listening and, more importantly, are delivering.
“ESA and its members were also instrumental in persuading HMRC to tighten up on landfill tax regulation and we are pleased to see some evidence that this is now happening.”
“The ESA Education Trust Report ‘Waste Crime: Tackling Britain’s Dirty Secret’ presented a strong economic case for increasing regulator resources, and the £78 million revenue involved in today’s example provides further evidence that it is vital that regulators are adequately resourced.
“The additional resources provided to regulators in the last two budgets helped to fund this important work, but it is important that adequate funding is sustained.”
Find out more about the landfill tax.