The Environment Agency (EA) has raided three illegal tyre sites in the north of England, and made five arrests.
The arrests were made as part of Operation Broadway, the National Environmental Crime Team’s crack down on waste crime.
As part of the operation, Environment Agency investigators supported by Lancashire Police and Greater Manchester Police forces raided the sites to seize evidence of alleged waste crime.
The EA have said that illegal tyre sites are bad for local recycling businesses because they undercut the prices of the genuine traders.
Mat Crocker, EA head of illegals and waste, said: “The Environment Agency will protect the legitimate recycling industry by being robust in tracking down waste criminals and bringing them to justice.”
Illegally hoarding tyres also represents a significant fire and air pollution risk, as well as diverting tyres away from recycling. The EA have said that a used tyre fire could “trigger an evacuation”.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s station manager Jim Fowler said: “The steps taken were necessary to keep the area around the site in Blackburn safe. The illegal activities that have been carried out on the premises put the local community at risk.”
The EA is working with the Lancashire Fire Service and Greater Manchester Fire Service to make the rogue tyre sites safe.
“The raid has been a success; this progress in Operation Broadway has only been possible with vital support from the police and fire services and intelligence shared through ‘Project Genga’ – a partnership aimed at disrupting and detecting organised crime across the region,” said Louis Hunt, EA senior investigating officer.
“This is an ongoing investigation and we would urge anyone with suspicions or knowledge of illegal waste activities to contact the Environment Agency on 0800 807060 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”