On Wednesday (13 November) the Environment Agency raided 10 premises in the Midlands in a bid to crack down on criminals connected with large scale illegal dumping of baled waste.
Called Operation Argument, the blitz followed detailed intelligence work, surveillance and information gathered from members of the public and police. The Environment Agency, along with West Midlands Police, West Mercia Police and British Transport Police simultaneously raided 10 premises, both industrial and residential, across the West Midlands and West Mercia to carry out arrests, execute warrants and obtain evidence.
The operation involved 45 officers from the Environment Agency, combined with around 45 Officers from West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and West Mercia Police.
Four people were arrested and computers, phones and documents were seized for further examination.
Six illegal waste sites, mostly warehouses, have received more than 2,000 bales of waste weighing 1.4 tonnes each. Removal costs for the waste are estimated at more than £3m and much of the cost will be borne by the landowner for each site. This illegal waste activity is thought to be as a result of organised crime and the Environment Agency is working with a number of partner agencies to piece together intelligence to focus enforcement on the key players. Further arrests are planned.
Following a separate initiative, called Operation Mosaic, a Chichester skip company was in court this week and fined £15,000 for illegally trading for more than eight years without any planning permission or environmental permits.
Maxi Skips Ltd, based at Polthooks Farm, Clay Lane, Fishbourne, near Chichester, West Sussex appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 13 November 2013. The company pleaded guilty to the offence and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs £2,500.