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£74,000 fine for huge illegal dumping operation

Nine people who illegally dumped enough rubbish to fill more than three Olympic-sized swimming pools, have been fined a total of £74,000.

More than 80,000 cubic metres of construction and demolition waste was tipped at a site next to the M25 in Polhill, Kent. Wood, plastic, metal, paper and tarmac made up the waste pile.

The site, owned by the Highways Agency, was raided in 2008 after the Environment Agency gathered evidence following a tip off about the unlawful operation. Two arrests were immediately made.

At that time, a mountain of waste stretching 300 metres long, five metres wide and three metres high had been tipped on the site

After investigating, the EA took enforcement action against 12 people including the site operator, owners of the waste and those who illegally dumped it. Nine defendants were sentenced with civil engineer and groundworks firm PJ Brown receiving the highest fine of £25,000. All nine charged were also told to pay a total of £35,650 in clean up costs and a total of £24,000 in other costs.

EA team leader for environmental crime David Eden said: “Illegal waste sites put the environment and human health at risk and undermine legitimate businesses. Prosecution is always a last resort, but there will always be some people who are persistent offenders and determined to flout the law to their own ends. These are the exact people the Environment Agency’s Environmental Crime Team has been set up to investigate.”

Two other defendants have already received formal cautions for their involvement and Gillivans Transport was found guilty and received a £7,000 fine at Sevenoaks Magistrates Court previously. The site operator is due in court later this week.

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