Nationwide dawn raids over illegal waste operation
The Environment Agency has carried out dawn raids across the country following an ‘in-depth investigation’ into the illegal dumping of waste, arresting two people.
Five separate addresses in Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Hertfordshire were raided by Environment Agency investigators and police officers yesterday morning (20 April) in connection to the dumping of up to 25,000 tonnes of waste at 17 sites across the Midlands, North West and North East.
The investigation, named Operation Cesium, has been ongoing since last summer, and more than 25 Environment Agency officers and over 20 police officers were involved in the action at suspects’ homes and business addresses.
Two people were arrested during the raids, with one more helping the Environment Agency with its enquiries.
The evidence seized yesterday will be examines to determine the full extent of the suspected offences, with the investigation expected to continue for several more months.
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.
“Illegal waste activity of the likes we’re investigating here diverts £1 billion from legitimate businesses and the treasury, and at the Environment Agency we do everything we can to bring those responsible to account.”