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London waste crime blitz

An Environment Agency campaign against suspected waste criminals in London has netted 14 sites operating illegally and 13 vehicles being used without the required paperwork.

In all, more than 60 waste vehicles were stopped and 53 waste sites inspected as part of Operation Ammolite, a partnership with the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, local authorities, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.

At road checks in Barking and Dagenham, Tower Hamlets and Enfield, operators without the required waste carriers licence were given seven days to produce the necessary paperwork to avoid prosecution.

Agency officers also targeted waste sites across several areas of the capital to build an intelligence picture of the area and take enforcement action against environmental criminals.

Fourteen sites were found to be operating illegally – including two involved in the illegal export of electrical waste and two who were mishandling hazardous waste.

The EA will now work with the site operators to bring them into compliance or take enforcement action, which could include prosecution.

Senior environmental crime officer Owen Bolton said: “Illegal waste activity is a huge problem in this area, harming the environment and taking work away from legitimate businesses.

“Waste crime is a serious offence and we use all legitimate means at our disposal to bring criminals to justice, including taking them to court where they face a criminal record, a fine and imprisonment in more serious cases.”

In December last year, the EA announced a 90-strong specialist taskforce to blitz serious, organised waste crime over two years. The team will work closely with enforcement partners to gather intelligence and act quickly to close illegal waste sites and bring operators to justice.

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