Environmental crime in Scotland is to get the Crimestoppers treatment as the charity teams up with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) from today to target illegal waste operations.
Sepa has enlisted the help of Crimestoppers as part of its new focus of tackling activity likely to cause the most harm to the environment, wildlife and human health. This complements its existing environmental regulation work.
Sepa is carrying out intelligence work on illegal waste operations working alongside police, local authorities, business and industry. Working with Crimestoppers will allow members of the public to tip-off police anonymously about these types of offences, which are often linked to serious organised crime.
Sepa’s director of operations Calum MacDonald said: “There are recognised links between environmental crime and serious organised crime groups and Sepa has been working closely with partner agencies such as the police to disrupt and deter environmental criminal activity.”
He added: “Operations such as illegal waste sites operate with an unfair commercial advantage over legitimate operators and can lead to serious environmental damage. Also, the increasing costs of waste disposal means that environmental crime can be extremely profitable.”
Last year Sepa’s operations led to illegal waste sites with hundreds of waste vehicles and tyres being cleared, an increase in trade for legal operators, increase in the number of operators and producers being compliant with legislations, prevention and repatriation of illegal WEEE exports.
Crimestoppers Scotland assistant national manager Kate Jackson said: “There are a number of reasons why people do not report criminals, fear is one. I’d like to reassure the public that our service is completely anonymous and in the 23 years that the charity has been running no one has ever been identified. The service is run for you, the public, to help make your community a safer place to live.”
Picture Caption: Al Dewart (SEPA), Malcolm Scott (Crimestoppers), and Calum MacDonald.