Waste electrical equipment on its way to Ghana from the UK has been intercepted by the French authorities and sent back to the UK.
The container carrying waste fridges, televisions and hi-fis was intercepted by at Le Havre while in transit in late 2005.
Waste movements in and out of the UK are regulated by the Environment Agency (EA), and as the shipment had no valid paperwork it was recalled to the UK under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste legislation.
Anyone who ships waste in and out of the UK must apply to the EA for a certificate to show they have a financial guarantee or equivalent insurance to cover the cost of the shipment.
The EA is currently investigating the original source of the waste, as it says the owner of the waste has not come forward.
EA area environment manager Chris Withnell said: “Unfortunately developing countries like Ghana have suffered uncontrolled dumping of imported waste, including electrical items. Dumping waste can cause harm to local people and the environment. In this instance we have worked with our French colleagues to prevent this from happening.”