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Prison sentence and fine over WEEE export attempts

The director of an East London company has been sentenced to 40 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, after he tried to illegally ship WEEE to Ghana 11 times.

Moses Appiah pleaded guilty to 11 offences of transporting hazardous waste and was sentenced at Barkingside Magistrates Court on 19 January.

In addition to the suspended custodial sentence, Appiah was ordered to pay £1,000 in costs, disqualified from acting as a company director for five years, and had a curfew between 8pm and 6am imposed for six months.

Appiahdeep Company, based in Rainham, also pleaded guilty to 11 identical offences, was fined £18,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 towards costs.

The court heard that 11 shipping containers loaded with WEEE were stopped by the Environment Agency (EA) prior to export to Ghana between August 2012 and June 2013.  The containers included a large amount of hazardous items such as unpackaged cathode ray tube televisions, fridge freezers and fridge compressors (pictured above).

It is legal for used electrical items to be exported for reuse if they are working and they have been checked to ensure that they are safe and functioning. The record of the testing must be attached to the items, and they must be protectively packaged prior to transport.

Shipment of waste abroad is subject to the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007, which bans the movement of some types of waste to developing countries because of the risk to human health and the environment.

EA senior environmental crime officer Kim Egbokhan said: “We put a lot of resource into educating operators in the Rainham area about the dangers of illegal transport of waste and so it is immensely frustrating when we have to prosecute people and companies for this crime.

“We will, however, continue to do this for however long it takes, in order to bring these companies into compliance with the law.

“This week’s prosecution, along with our regular action days in the area, should act as a strong deterrent and send a clear message to would-be offenders of the stern penalties that waste crime can lead to.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • well done the EA, this is good for those who have legitimate businesses that have invested heavily in re-cycling in the UK

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