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Crime boss jailed for 65,000 tonne illegal waste site

A crime boss has been given the longest ever sentence for a waste crime, after an Environment Agency (EA) investigation identified a 65,000 tonne illegal waste site in Reading.

Hugh O’Donnell and two accomplices were arrested by police in a raid which discovered an illegal waste site at Aldermaston, near Reading, spread over land the size of five football pitches, as well as an unlicensed handgun, ammunition and £50,000 in cash.

An EA assessment of the site identified that the illegal landfill site contained  more than 65,000 tonnes of contaminated non-hazardous construction waste. 

O’Donnell was imprisoned for four and a half years in 2009 for illegal possession of the handgun, and subsequently sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court for another four years for money laundering and 22 months for waste offences – which will be served concurrently.

Accomplices Robert Evans and Peter Lavelle received 12 months for waste offences, due to be served concurrently with two year sentences for money laundering.

Environment Agency principal solicitor Angus Innes said: “O’Donnell’s illegal waste business netted millions of pounds in profit by taking skips or lorry loads of construction and demolition waste into the Aldermaston site to be dumped in an illegal landfill.

“This investigation has been one of the biggest and most complex ever undertaken by the Environment Agency, using intelligence and forensic science to proactively target an organised criminal gang running an illegal waste site.”

Judge Edmunds QC said: “This was deliberate, calculated offending on an industrial scale”.

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