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Departments join forces for waste crime crackdown

Government departments have joined forces to target waste criminals in a national day of action.

More than 30 Environment Agency (EA) officers took up positions across England on 13 April to assist in more than 200 roadside checks of vehicles and site visits.

The crackdown, which also focused on rogue traders, was part of a week-long crime prevention initiative.

It involved executing warrants, identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition and conducting intelligence-led patrols in areas where older or vulnerable people live.

Nicky Lawton, deputy director of the EA’s enforcement service, said: “We work closely with partner enforcement organisations to identify and stop rogue traders. We will take action against illegal operators who risk polluting the environment and undercutting legitimate businesses.

“Any waste collector should have EA permits, always check whether a trader is legitimate and, if you are suspicious of a waste collector, report it to the EA on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers.”

Last year, around 5,000 vehicles were inspected, more than 100 people were arrested and £3.1m-worth of property recovered.

Police and trading standards services co-ordinated efforts across the country with support from the Department of Work and Pensions, EA and HM Revenue & Customs.

The DVLA, the DVSA, Border Force and Scambusters were also involved in the scheme, called Operation Rogue Trader.

The scheme is led by Operation Liberal, a national intelligence unit that links associated crimes. It gathers intelligence on individual criminals and organised crime groups who travel extensively throughout the UK.

Andrew Luckett, Operation Liberal office manager, said: “We will continue to carry out operations like this and remind the public to remain vigilant, and report any suspicious activity or concerns about an individual offering to carry out work to the relevant agency.”

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